Only 63 more votes needed in PM quest
The Move Forward Party (MFP) has announced the formation of an eight-party alliance and the setting up of working groups to lobby senators for support and thrash out policy platforms with a memorandum of understanding to be disclosed on Monday.
With the inclusion of the Pheu Thai Ruam Palang and Palang Sangkhom Mai parties, the MFP-led bloc has pulled in 313 House seats and requires 63 more votes to support MFP leader Pita Limjaroenrat’s bid to become prime minister.
The leaders of the eight parties — MFP, Pheu Thai, Prachachart, Thai Sang Thai, Seri Ruam Thai, Fair, Palang Sangkhom Mai and Pheu Thai Ruam Palang — were present on Thursday at the announcement at the Okura Prestige Bangkok Hotel following initial talks on Wednesday.
Mr Pita said all the coalition parties agreed to support him as the next prime minister as the MFP clinched the most seats in Sunday’s election.
The coalition will work out an MoU which will map out guidelines for their collaboration and address national, political, economic and social crises. Details of the MoU will be revealed on May 22, the ninth anniversary of the military coup on May 22, 2014.
The eight parties will establish working groups to facilitate the transition from the caretaker government to the new administration, the MFP leader said, adding that allocation of cabinet seats is not up for discussion at this stage.
“We’re not focusing on ministerial posts. We’re focusing on the formation of policy platforms of each party, and goals. Concentrating on [allocating] ministries isn’t in the public interest,” he said.
The MFP leader expressed confidence the coalition would muster enough votes to back him as prime minister.
He said he was not worried about petitions involving his qualifications, adding he is ready to face scrutiny.
Mr Pita faces complaints over shares he holds in a media company, which could possibly see him disqualified.
“If we didn’t have the roadmap and foreseen all scenarios, I’d be worried. But I’m not. We have working teams, and we have clear goals. We have anticipated and are prepared to deal in order to make the coalition happen,” he said.
Mr Pita said the working teams would hold talks with the Senate over the vote for prime minister and would consider the possibility of other parties joining the coalition.
“The 313 House seats are enough, and gathering 376 votes isn’t an issue for the time being. However, to be cautious, I’ve asked the teams to find the proper number, so there is stability and no loss of balance in governing,” he said.
Mr Pita said: “The lese majeste law would be discussed by coalition partners, and whether it would be addressed in the MoU depends on the talks”.
However, he insisted “amendments to the law are necessary”.
Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew said the coalition partners would review the MoU prepared by the MFP and make suggestions, including on the lese majeste law.
“If the MoU is signed, it means we have reached an agreement. Let’s take the lese majeste law, which is controversial, as an example. The differences will be listed in the MoU as well as how to address them,” he said.
Thai Sang Thai leader Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan said forming policies is more important than allocating cabinet seats.
Khunying Sudarat said there are uncertainties ahead and that her party is honouring its promise to support the election winner in forming the government.
“If changes happen, we’ll have to wait and see. We don’t have to be part of the government. We must do things right, and we can be the opposition if we have to,” she said.
She said the party’s stance is to protect the monarchy but insisted the law must not be used as a political tool to harm others.
The Seri Ruam Thai Party’s Pol Gen Sereepisuth Temeeyaves said that the party supports the MFP in forming the government.