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Palang Pracharath likely joining Pheu Thai-led coalition: Academic


By Thai Newsroom Reporters

THE PALANG PRACHARATH will be the most likely party to join a Pheu Thai-led coalition government after the May 14 general election, predicted a noted academic today (May 3).

Thanaporn Sriyakul, head of Kasetsart University’s Political Science Association, forecast that the Pheu Thai, of which deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is invariably viewed as de facto party boss, will likely get most MPs out of a total of 500 in the nationwide election, thus becoming core of government with the Palang Pracharath, headed by Prawit Wongsuwan, being brought into the Pheu Thai-led coalition.

Prawit could be very helpful with the naming of Thaksin’s daughter Paetongtarn Shinawatra as Pheu Thai partisan candidate for prime minister, purportedly given the Palang Pracharath leader’s personal influences over many of the 250 senators, all of whom caretaker prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and he himself had handpicked following the 2014 coup orchestrated by the then-army chief Prayut.

The campaign pledges repeatedly made by Pheu Thai candidates for prime minister, namely Settha Taweesin and Paetongtarn, to never hand out the premiership to Prawit is one thing, but whether the Palang Pracharath will eventually join the Pheu Thai-led coalition is entirely another, according to the Kasetsart political scientist.

“Chonlanan (Srikaew) has already offered himself as a scapegoat by calling it quits as Pheu Thai leader to take responsibility for the event in which the Palang Pracharath may finally join the Pheu Thai-led coalition government,” Thanaporn said.

Thanaporn forecast that the Pheu Thai will get an estimated 210 MPs in both constituency-based and party-listed modes in the May 14 election, thus failing to achieve the much-heralded landslide victory with as many as 300-plus MPs earlier predicted by Thaksin.

Meanwhile, Thanaporn said, the Palang Pracharath will likely get an estimated 40 MPs in both electoral modes and could probably become the second largest camp in the Pheu Thai-led coalition.

Though the Move Forward will not be included in the Pheu Thai-led coalition government for some specific reasons, thus becoming part of a future opposition bloc at parliament, all Move Forward MPs will likely cast yea votes for the naming of Paetongtarn as prime minister to outvote the 250 unelected senators, none of whom is speculated to ever vote for Thaksin’s daughter and most are expected to abstain from voting at all, according to the Kasetsart academic.

A partisan contestant for prime minister is legally obliged to secure yea votes from more than half the total of MPs and senators combined or at least 376 votes to be successfully named one.

The coup junta-designed constitution empowers the unelected senators to vote for prime minister alongside the elected MPs.

No matter how many MPs the Move Forward could possibly get from the May 14 election, the liberal party will certainly not join ranks with the military camps, namely the Ruam Thai Sang Chart and Palang Pracharath, according to Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat.

In the meantime, it remains to be seen whether the Bhumjaithai under guidance of de facto party boss Newin Chidchob will be brought into the Pheu Thai-led coalition.

Nevertheless, Thanaporn remarked that Prayut could possibly come up with a pre-emptive ploy against the Pheu Thai by manipulating a minimum bloc of 126 MPs in addition to the 250 senators to barely make a total of 376 votes to endorse him as Ruam Thai Sang Chart candidate for prime minister.

The ultra-conservative party is expected to get some 30 MPs from the general election and that number will be enough to support the naming of Prayut as candidate for prime minister, the Kasetsart political scientist said.

A contesting party is legally obliged to have a minimum of one-fifth of all MPs or at least 25 lawmakers to name a partisan candidate for head of a post-election government.

For that reason, Prayut will not only need yea votes from Bhumjaithai and Democrat MPs but from Palang Pracharath MPs though Prawit himself is looking to take the helm of government as well, Thanaporn said.

Though a prolonged Prayut rule might possibly exist as a minority government, they could possibly be strengthened with concrete support from a number of “renegade” Pheu Thai MPs and others against their own party resolutions, according to the academic.


Top: A composite photo of Palang Pracharath leader Prawit Wongsuwan, rear, Pheu Thai candidate for prime minister Paetongtarn Shinawatra, left, and Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat, right. Credit: Matichon

First insert: Kasetsart University academic Thanaporn Sriyakul. Photo: Thai Post

Second insert: Caretaker prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Photo: Thai Rath

Front Page: Pheu Thai candidate for prime minister Paetongtarn Shinawatra. Photo: Thai Rath

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