By Thai Newsroom Reporters
PALANG PRACHARATH LEADER Prawit Wongsuwan today (May 23) categorically dismissed hearsay that he will soon call it quits to prompt a possible exodus of 41 MPs from his otherwise-opposition party to the Pheu Thai camp.
Prawit told reporters at Government House such a thought of resigning as the Palang Pracharath leader or as an MP had never dawned on him and wondered what any rumourmongers may have been after.
Prawit made his comments in the wake of a possible twist of power play in which the Palang Pracharath might be promptly dissolved only if he resigned as leader of the military-installed party so those MPs could hop over to the Pheu Thai to make it the largest party and core of a new coalition government in place of the Move Forward which has already formed an eight-party coalition following the May 14 general election.
The Palang Pracharath leader insisted that he will definitely continue to head his party which will certainly become part of an opposition bloc if the Move Forward-led coalition government is finally established under the elected premiership of Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat.
However, the possible exodus of the 41 Palang Pracharath MPs to the 141 MPs-strong Pheu Thai, currently being the second-largest party, could make a total of 182 MPs and turn themselves into the largest one and simultaneously core of a new coalition government, compared to the 152 MPs-strong Move Forward.
The alleged twist of power play in which the Pheu Thai under de facto party boss Thaksin Shinawatra would manipulate to steal the premiership from the Move Forward leader could possibly occur if Pita finally failed to have yea votes from more than half the combined total of 500 MPs and 250 senators or at least 376 votes to endorse him for prime minister, partisan sources said.
For the time being, the Move Forward-led, eight-party coalition has a total of 313 MPs, thus needing at least 63 more votes to make Pita the country’s 30th prime minister whilst most of the unelected senators are more or less expected to abstain from voting only to keep him short of an adequate support.
The Move Forward leadership is reportedly seeking mutual understanding with the senators especially in regards to the draconian lese majeste law which the progressive party has vowed as an electoral campaign platform to amend to the extent that only the Royal Household Bureau be legally allowed to file lese majeste lawsuits against suspected offenders instead of leaving the politically-motivated business to anyone at all, that the maximum penalty be curtailed from a 15-year jail term which is tantamount to those for convicted accidental homicide perpetrators and that all lese majeste suspects be promptly freed under bail.
Sam Mit Group leader Somsak Thepsuthin, currently attached to the Pheu Thai, has earlier predicted that no more than 30 senators will cast yea votes alongside those of the Move Forward-led coalition partners in support of Pita.
All 250 senators who had been handpicked by Prawit and coup leader-turned-prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha following the 2014 coup unanimously voted for the latter as head of a Palang Pracharath-led coalition government following the 2019 election.
Palang Pracharath leader Prawit Wongsuwan talking to reporters, above, and with former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Front Page. Both photos: Thai Rath