By Thai Newsroom Reporters
REAL ESTATE TYCOON Settha Taweesin has offered to give up his contest for prime minister if the Pheu Thai under whose tickets he is running joins ranks with the Palang Pracharath after Sunday’s general election.
In Wednesday’s interview with Voice of America, Settha, who is running among a trio of Pheu Thai contestants for prime minister, said he will certainly protest by giving up his partisan contest only if the Pheu Thai under de facto party boss/deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra finally joins hands with the Palang Pracharath, headed by Prawit Wongsuwan, among other camps, to set up a coalition government after the nationwide election.
His comments were apparently made in response to sustained speculation that the Pheu Thai could probably bring Prawit’s camp, among a few others, as partners of a Pheu Thai-led coalition.
Though Thaksin’s daughter Paetongtarn Shinawatra, who is one of a trio Pheu Thai contenders for prime minister, and Settha himself have repeatedly vowed to not offer to hand out the premiership to Prawit, many people doubted that the Palang Pracharath rank and file apart from their leader would be denied the partnership of a Pheu Thai-led coalition.
Either with or without a much-heralded landslide victory in Sunday’s general election, Thaksin’s camp is largely speculated to win most out of a total of 500 MPs in both constituency-based and party-listed modes and become core of a coalition government albeit without support from most of the 250 senators.
Meanwhile, Settha categorically dismissed criticism that he is merely performing at Thaksin’s command and that he has been determined to become head of a coalition government without such partners as the Palang Pracharath or the Ruam Thai Sang Chart under whose banners caretaker prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is running to retain power after the nationwide election.
The Pheu Thai rank and file have expressed confidence that their partisan contestant for prime minister, either being Paetongtarn or Settha, could finally do without yea votes from the senators, given the anticipated overwhelming support from among Pheu Thai MPs, Move Forward MPs and other anti-Prayut lawmakers, the total of whom might possibly amount to 376.
That number represents more than half the total of MPs and senators combined to successfully vote for a partisan candidate for prime minister as required by the coup junta-designed constitution of 2017.
Nevertheless, Prawit is largely known to have more or less influence over dozens of 250 senators all of whom had been handpicked by the Palang Pracharath leader and the de facto Ruam Thai Sang Chart boss following the 2014 coup, orchestrated by the then-army chief Prayut.
A partisan contestant for prime minister is legally obliged to secure at least 376 votes from among the total of 500 elected MPs and 250 unelected senators.
Under the coup junta-designed constitution, the unelected senators are legally empowered to pick a prime minister alongside the elected MPs in a joint House/Senate session.
Top and Front Page: Two of three Pheu Thai prime minister candidates Paetongtarn Shinawatra and Settha Taweesin at this party’s campaign rally at Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani, this evening. Photos: Matichon