Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, a deputy leader of the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), has brushed aside talk of forming a government with the main opposition Pheu Thai Party after the next election, saying it was premature to discuss the matter.
Mr Chaiwut, who serves as Minister of Digital Economy and Society, was responding to remarks by Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew that Pheu Thai’s potential allies must meet certain preconditions including withdrawing support for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
“It is too early to discuss the formation of a government. We have to wait and see how many MPs we have and we also have to take into account the political climate and look at other parties’ policies,” Mr Chaiwut said.
“But our main focus is to work for the benefit of the people… We won’t support anything that creates problems and divisions among the people,” he said.
“It is unlikely that the existing major political parties will forge an alliance as a system of checks and balances is still required,” Mr Chaiwut said.
Asked whether mass defections of MPs will affect the ruling party in the next election, Mr Chaiwut said that defections are normal ahead of an election. He said he believed that despite the defections, voters will still support election candidates running under the banner of the PPRP.
Mr Chaiwut also denied that internal rifts within the party were to blame for MP defections. Defecting MPs only wanted to work with parties they preferred, he said.
Asked whether it will be a drawback for the party as it is not clear whether Gen Prayut will stick with the PPRP, Mr Chaiwut said the PPRP nominated Gen Prayut as its sole candidate for prime minister in the 2019 election, and the party still supports him as a prime ministerial candidate in the next poll.
The next poll is tentatively scheduled to take place on May 7 next year.
Whether the party will nominate other prime ministerial candidates in addition to Gen Prayut remains to be seen, he said.
Under the constitution, each political party can name up to three candidates for prime minister.
Rong Boonsuayfan, a PPRP MP for Nakhon Si Thammarat, has suggested Gen Prayut should step aside and let PPRP leader and Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon run as the party’s sole PM candidate in the next election.
Gen Prayut can serve as PM until 2025, according to a recent court ruling, which means he would have to step down during the next term.
Dr Cholnan said on Sunday that if the PPRP’s prime ministerial candidacy were shifted to Gen Prawit, it would give the Pheu Thai Party an advantage in the upcoming polls as voters would turn away from the ruling party.
Asked whether it will be possible for Pheu Thai to ally itself with the PPRP if Gen Prawit becomes the PPRP’s sole candidate for prime minister, Dr Cholnan said that any alliance will not take place before the election as this may spark resistance from its supporters.
But if Pheu Thai wins the next poll by a landslide securing more than 250 House seats, it will consider forming an alliance with other parties if they share similar democratic ideologies and do not support Gen Prayut. Their policies must be compatible with those of Pheu Thai, he added.
Dr Cholnan reiterated his stance on Monday that it was too early to discuss forming an alliance with the PPRP even if it nominated Gen Prawit as its sole prime ministerial candidate.
Sutin Klungsang, Pheu Thai deputy leader and an MP for Maha Sarakham, said on Monday that political parties from the pro-democracy bloc prefer to work with like-minded parties.
“But if we have no choice, we may have to join hands with parties currently in the coalition government such as the PPRP, Bhumjaithai, or the Democrats,” Mr Sutin said.
Article source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/politics/2421613/talks-on-forming-govt-ruled-out