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Thanathorn: Erase ‘exaggerated’ fears of senators backing minority government


By Thai Newsroom Reporters

PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit has advised all parties contesting the May 14 general election as well as members of the public to overcome “exaggerated” fears of senators casting yea votes for head of a minority government instead of a majority one.

Thanathorn suggested over the weekend that one not be preoccupied with such “exaggerated” fears which would otherwise only compromise democratic rule by which, he said, most of the 250 senators will finally abide to the extent that a person being endorsed by a decisive majority among all 500 MPs following the nationwide election be successfully named prime minister.

Given democratic rule under which a prime minister practically performs as head of government which takes control of a majority of MPs, most senators will not dare to vote for anyone else who might only be endorsed by a minority of the elected lawmakers, Thanathorn concluded.

“Those who may have exaggerated fears of senators voting for head of a minority government as opposed to a majority one had better get rid of such worries once and for all.

“If a minority government was ever set up with the help of the senators, chaos and unrest might probably prevail over the whole country,” the Progressive Movement leader said.

His comments were apparently made to allay the sustained fears among sectors of society that caretaker prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha who is running to retain power under the Ruam Thai Sang Chart tickets might possibly be given yea votes from a minority of elected MPs plus overwhelming votes from the unelected senators, thus turning himself into head of a minority government.

Thanathorn contended that a minority government will not be able to run the country due to lack of support from a majority of MPs for legislations beginning with a budget bill.

Thanathorn agreed to the wide speculation that the Pheu Thai will get most MPs out of a total of 500 in the May 14 general election and become core of government for which future Move Forward MPs will certainly lend support, no matter whether the Move Forward may join in as coalition partner.

But the Move Forward might probably choose to not endorse the Pheu Thai as core of government if the party, of which deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is viewed as de facto boss, joined hands with the Palang Pracharath to set up alliance and name Palang Pracharath leader Prawit Wongsuwan for prime minister in lieu of Paetongtarn Shinawatra or Settha Taweesin or Chaikasem Nitisiri – the trio of Pheu Thai partisan contenders for prime minister, according to the Progressive Movement leader.

Nevertheless, the 250 senators, all of whom had been handpicked by Prawit and Prayut, are more or less speculated to only vote either for the Palang Pracharath boss or the Ruam Thai Sang Chart contender for prime minister or else they might probably opt out by abstaining from voting at all.

The constitution of 2017, designed by the 2014 coup junta headed by the then-army chief Prayut, empowers the unelected senators to vote alongside the elected MPs for prime minister in a joint House/Senate session.


Progressive Movement leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit campaigning for the Move Forward Party recently. Photos: Thai Rath

Also read: Thanathorn insists military be kept out of politics for good

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