Anutin says cannabis bill would be condition of Bhumjaithai’s participation in next coalition
Bhumjaithai Party leader Anutin Charnvirakul said on Thursday that he was open to talks with any political parties for the time being, while expecting his party to win 70 House seats in the next general election.
His comment followed a report that he and other key Bhumjaithai figures had lunch with Gen Prawit Wongsuwon, deputy prime minister and leader of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), in the compound of the 1st Infantry Regiment on Wednesday.
Mr Anutin, also a deputy prime minister and public health minister, said his group met Gen Prawit to discuss the political situation and the readiness of their parties for the upcoming general election, tentatively scheduled to take place on May 7 by the Election Commission (EC).
“Gen Prawit asked me about the estimated number of House seats for Bhumjaithai and I told him that the party may have about 70 representatives,” Mr Anutin told reporters. The estimate went along with polls and there will be 500 representatives after the next poll, he added.
“What’s so strange about having a meal with the government manager?… For the time being, it is not strange for politicians to meet up during meals… In terms of politics, we can meet up… If anyone invite me, I will be there. If the opposition leader invite government parties for a meal, I think I’ll be there.”
The Bhumjaithai denied that the released photo of his group having lunch with Gen Prawit was meant to discourage rival parties.
He also said that the passage of a cannabis control bill would be a condition of his party’s participation in the next coalition government.
The coalition Bhumjaithai Party and Mr Anutin successfully pushed for the decriminalisation of cannabis in the middle of last year, but the state had yet to have a law to effectively control its use.