By Thai Newsroom Reporters
CONCERNS OVER A MOVE FORWARD-LED, eight-partner coalition have been considerably lessened amongst the Pheu Thai and Move Forward leaderships, said Move Forward secretary-general Chaithawat Tulathon today (May 29).
Chaithawat downplayed criticism that the Pheu Thai might possibly look to steal the opportunity from the Move Forward to the extent that the former become core of a post-election coalition government instead of the latter.
His comments apparently followed the sustained speculation that the Pheu Thai under de facto party boss Thaksin Shinawatra might probably opt out from the Move Forward-led, eight-partner coalition and manage to form a new core of government in near future.
An entirely new coalition led by the Pheu Thai with 141 MPs is yet speculated to do without the Move Forward with 151 MPs but to include the Palang Pracharath with 40 MPs headed by Prawit Wongsuwan and the Bhumjaithai with 71 MPs under de facto party boss Newin Chidchob, among others, according to partisan sources.
Chaithawat said there is definitely no Plan B either for the Move Forward-led, eight-partner government with a force of 312 MPs at their command or for the naming of Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat for prime minister.
The cabinet portfolios for the eight coalition partners is being allocated with focus on their respective campaign policies and will be finished by the middle of next month whilst the Move Forward rank and file will continue to clarify their campaign policies to the senators and allay fears of the largest party’s ideological stands in bid to persuade them to vote for Pita for head of government, the Move Forward secretary-general said. Central to the unelected lawmakers’ concerns over the Move Forward campaign platforms is the sought-after amendment to the draconian lese majeste law, better known as Section 112 of the Criminal Code.
Pita has earlier pointed out that anyone could be unjustly accused of lese majeste charges by their political opponents and others and insisted that the Royal Household Bureau be the only plaintiff in any lawsuits against suspected perpetrators who should be promptly released under bail instead of being detained without court verdicts for several months or even years.
Pita maintained that the Move Forward policy for the amendment to the lese majeste law is primarily designed to keep the monarch from being abused by politicians and others as well as to foster firmer and more lasting relationships between the monarchy and people than ever.
In the meantime, the Pheu Thai rank and file are known to more or less anticipate a possible failure on the part of Pita to secure enough yea votes for prime minister since most of the unelected senators are yet expected to abstain from voting in a joint House/Senate session.
Those senators will likely turn around to endorse a Pheu Thai candidate, namely Thaksin’s daughter Paetongtarn Shinawatra or real estate tycoon Settha Taweesin, only if either one was named prime minister following a possible fiasco on the part of the Move Forward leader, the partisan sources said.
Some among the Pheu Thai rank and file conclude that the more conflict to arise between the Pheu Thai and the Move Forward, the better the former will be justified to leave for an entirely new coalition, thus turning the former into core of government and the latter into the opposition bloc, according to a partisan source who only spoke on condition of anonymity.
Thaksin who has been living in self-exile overseas since the 2006 coup is largely known to intend to see his youngest daughter become the country’s 30th prime minister. The deposed prime minister’s ultimate goal could probably be viewed as a “final” chapter of his power play. In his verbal vow made publicly earlier this month, Thaksin said he has planned to return home in the upcoming July and said he will do so without the help of the Pheu Thai rank and file, given a combined 10-year jail term earlier delivered to him by court due to misconduct charges.
Given the possibility that the Palang Pracharath might be brought into a Pheu Thai-led coalition with about 280 MPs on their side, Prawit is more or less expected to prompt an adequate number of senators to vote for the Pheu Thai contestant for prime minister, they said.
A partisan candidate for prime minister is constitutionally obliged to get yea votes from more than half the combined total of 500 MPs and 250 senators or at least 376 votes. All the senators had been handpicked by Prawit and coup leader-turned-prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Both Prawit and Prayut had contested the May 14 election to take the helm of government under the Palang Pracharath and Ruam Thai Sang Chart tickets respectively.
Prawit has earlier expressed strong objection to the setting up of a minority government in which Prayut could possibly be named prime minister in a desperate effort to prolong his nine-year-old power following the 2014 coup which he himself had orchestrated as army chief.
Top: Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat. Photo: Matichon Weekly.
Insert: Pheu Thai secretary-general Chaithawat Tulathon. Photo: Matichon
Front Page: Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat and former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s daughter Paetongtarn Shinawatra. Photo: Matichon
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