See More on Facebook

Politics

Pro-junta bloc says it’s ready to form a government

The group claims deal with Democrats, Bhumjaithai parties.


Written by

Updated: May 20, 2019

The Pro-Junta Phalang Pracharat Party claimed to have successfully cobbled together a coalition that could form a new government with the participation of the Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties, a source from the major coalition partner said yesterday.

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha will again head the post-election administration, with many members of his current post-coup Cabinet joining him, including General Prawit Wongsuwan, General Anupong Paochinda, Somkid Jatusripitak and Wissanu Krea-ngam, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

However, it remained unclear if Prayut would also double as defence minister or allow Prawit to assume the post again in addition to the deputy PM’s post.

Phalang Pracharath will get at least 16 Cabinet seats and the Democrats and Bhumjaithai would get seven each, the source said, adding that these numbers were based on an agreed quota of one Cabinet seat for seven MPs.

In the March 24 general election, Phalang Pracharath won 115 MP seats, the Democrats 52 and Bhumjaithai 51.

Among the key Cabinet portfolios expected to go to Phalang Pracharath are Finance, Transport, Commerce, Education, Foreign Affairs, Tourism and Sports, and Natural Resources and the Environment.

The Democrats are expected to get the Labour and Justice portfolios besides the minister of Social Development and Human Security as well as minister of University Affairs, Science Research and Innovations – a new ministry created by the current government.

According to the source, the Democrat Party will also get deputy ministers for Interior, Finance and Education.

Bhumjaithai has successfully bargained for the seats of Public Health minister and Digital Economy and Society minister, in addition to deputy minister seats in the ministries of Transport, Interior and Commerce, the source said.

The party’s leader, Anutin Charnvirakul, is expected to become the new Public Health minister to push for its policy platform of legalising marijuana.

Meanwhile, political parties in the “democratic camp” still have not given up hope of forming a new coalition government despite claims by the rival pro-junta camp of their success, Pheu Thai secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai said yesterday.

The confidence was expressed as both Pheu Thai and Phalang Pracharat were heavily lobbying for support from smaller parties.

Phumtham said all the parties in the group, that he called the “democratic camp”, remained firm about going ahead with forming a new government.

He said his coalition had the main goal of “preventing the country reaching a dead end and stopping the continuation of power” by the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) through General Prayut Chan-o-cha, who is the sole prime ministerial candidate for Phalang Pracharath.

“The parties in the democratic camp still have not stopped today. For us, the journey is not completed,” Phumtham said in his Facebook post.

“All the parties [in the camp] are still determined; we have exchanged views with all sides and we see hopes from the dialogue. I can tell you that there is progress in our work,” he said.

Rivals not convinced

Phumtham said the rival camp’s claim of near success in putting together a coalition government was merely a psychological move aimed at boosting their allies’ confidence in an attempt to gain political power and continue with their rule.

He voiced confidence that the Pheu Thai-led alliance would eventually win when the House of Representatives votes on Saturday.

“We are hopeful of a victory in the House of Representatives. We are confident that we can bring about better changes,” he said.

The new House of Representatives is scheduled to convene its first meeting on Saturday to elect the speaker and two deputy speakers.

General Prayut, who led the 2014 military coup to overthrow a Pheu Thai-led government, is the current prime minister and also heads the NCPO.

Both Pheu Thai and Phalang Pracharat have claimed legitimacy to form the next government, with the former winning the most House seats and the latter gaining the most popular votes in the March 24 general election.

Varawut Silpa-archa, a key figure in the Chart Thai Pattana Party, said yesterday that his party had been approached by both Pheu Thai and Phalang Pracharat to join their rival coalitions. “But there has been no agreement whatsoever,” Varawut said, adding that Chart Thai politicians would meet on Thursday to discuss “which way to head” regarding the matter.

Meanwhile, the Democrat Party, which is also being courted by both Pheu Thai and Phalang Pracharath, maintained yesterday that it would base its decision “mainly for the benefit of the people and the country”, spokesman Ramet Ratanachaweng said.

He said no meeting has been scheduled between the party’s newly elected MPs and new executive board headed by party leader Jurin Laksanavisit to decide about joining a new government.

“The public should trust the Democrat Party under the leadership of Jurin Laksanavisit. We will basically do whatever is needed to benefit the people and the country,” the spokesman said.

In a related development, the Bhumjaithai Party – which is also being wooed by rival camps to join their coalitions – holds an orientation meeting for its new MPs at a hotel in Buri Ram province today.

At the meeting, to be chaired by Bhumjaithai leader Anutin Charnvirakul, the party’s executives and MPs are expected to determine its stance as to which camp it would join to form a next government.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Nation (Thailand)
About the Author: The Nation is a broadsheet, English-language daily newspaper founded in 1971 and published in Bangkok, Thailand.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Politics

Communist Party of China calls for efforts to deepen reform and expand opening-up

Political Bureau stresses importance of winning three critical battles in 2020. The Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee called on Friday for solid efforts to deepen reform and expand opening-up, amid tensions in the external environment, to ensure that the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects will be attained next year. The general trend of China’s economy in maintaining stable and long-term positive operation remains unchanged, according to a statement released after the bureau’s meeting, presided over by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. China will keep its economic growth within a reasonable range in 2020, with more “forwarding-looking, targeted and effective” policies, the statement said. The nation will pursue a policy framework that allows macro policies to be stable, micro policies


By China Daily
December 9, 2019

Politics

Najib to take the stand today

The former premier is accused of malfeasance. Today is the day that Malaysians will see, for the first in the country’s history, a former prime minister take the stand to answer charges against him in a court of law. Datuk Seri Najib Razak (pic), 66, will testify from the witness box as the first defence witness to rebut his seven charges of misappropriating RM42mil in SRC International Sdn Bhd funds before High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali. According to his co-counsel Harvinderjit Singh, Najib will be called as the first witness on the opening day of the defence’s proceedings. Najib will be first questioned by his defence during examination-in-chief before being cross-examined by the prosecution. On Nov 11, Justice Mohd Nazlan ordered Najib to enter his defence on three counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT), three charges of money laundering and on


By The Star
December 3, 2019

Politics

New parties face drubbing in by-elections as Nepalis continue to vote along party lines

“They failed to convince the voters as to what they would bring to the table if they were given a chance”. Nepalis once again displayed traditional voting patterns as they continued to choose the established parties—Nepal Communist Party and the Nepali Congress—while casting their ballots in Saturday’s by-election, as they snubbed newer parties like Sajha and Bibeksheel. Despite their untiring efforts, focussing primarily on Kaski Constituency-2 in a bid to get a seat in the federal Parliament, both Sajha and Bibeksheel, cut no ice with voters. Both parties have had to fight hard to even secure their deposits, as candidates must garner at least 10 percent of the total votes cast to get back their deposit; a failure to do so is considered humiliating. By-elections were held on Saturday for 52 positions, including a vacant seat in the House of Representatives, three provincial assembly seats


By The Kathmandu Post
December 2, 2019

Politics

Thousands return to Hong Kong streets in fresh round of protests

Police fire tear gas at those outside of approved route. After a week of relative calm, thousands of anti-government protesters took to the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday (Dec 1) chanting slogans such as “revolution of our time” and “liberate Hong Kong”. The protest, which took place in the bustling shopping district of Tsim Tsa Tsui, came after hundreds of people marched to the United States consulate earlier in the day to show “gratitude” for US support for the demonstrations that have roiled the China-ruled financial hub for nearly six months. Waving posters that read “Never forget why you started” and black flags with the logo “Revolution now”, protesters marched past the city’s Kowloon waterfront, home to luxury hotels and shopping malls. Police in riot gear were out in force for the Tsim Sha Tsui march – the third one of the day. The


By The Straits Times
December 2, 2019

Politics

TikTok apologises for blocking American teen’s video about Xinjiang disguised as makeup tutorial

In a statement, TikTok blamed a “human moderation error” for the incident and promised to review its policies. VIdeo-sharing app TikTok apologised for blocking an American teenager’s account after she posted a video about China’s treatment of Muslims in the Xinjiang region that went viral. In a statement, Eric Han, head of safety at TikTok US, blamed a “human moderation error” for the removal of 17-year-old Feroza Aziz’s video, which was disguised as a makeup tutorial and received millions of views across TikTok, Twitter and Instagram. Han said: “Due to a human moderation error, the viral video… was removed. It’s important to clarify that nothing in our community guidelines precludes content such as this video, and it shou


By Dawn
November 29, 2019

Politics

NO MERCY for café attack perpetrators

Sentencing 7 militants to death, court says Holey Artisan attack was designed to assassinate the non-communal character of Bangladesh.  A Dhaka court yesterday sentenced seven militants to death for their involvement in the 2016 Holey Artisan Bakery attack, terming it a disgraceful attack aimed at assassinating the non-communal character of Bangladesh. The Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal acquitted one accused as it found him not guilty in the atrocity that left 22 people, including 17 foreigners, dead in the capital’s Gulshan. The judgment came more than three years after the country’s deadliest café siege which, according to the court, was aimed at endangering public safety and drawing attention of the international militant organisation IS. The grisly attack followed a spate of target killings of bloggers, writers, members of religious minorities a


By Daily Star
November 28, 2019