The Nation

Puea Pandin, Ruam Chart Pattana mull merger

The Puea Pandin and Ruam Chart Pattana parties have been talking about a merger and the result could be known after the New Year holiday, de facto Puea Pandin leader Pairote Suwanchawee said yesterday.

The veteran politician, who has been deprived of electoral rights by court order, said talks have been ongoing for months and there would be more meetings between leaders of the two parties next week and during the New Year holiday."A merger can help save costs |and improve [party] efficiency. |Also, the two parties would not have to compete against each other in an election," Pairote said. "Things will be clearer after the New Year festival. A general election will certainly take place next year, so an early preparation will be a good start."He said voters nowadays were more politically active and disliked temporary political parties. "There are many political parties but only some of them hold regular political activities. Politicians bicker like dogs biting dogs. Politics suffer and people don't like it." Puea Pandin MP Anuwat Wisetjindawat said Pairote appeared to be "testing the water" by disclosing news about the merger talks. A Puea Pandin source said most party MPs would agree to a merger |in which Ruam Chart Pattana would be merged into Puea Pandin, and not |vice versa. "Puea Pandin is the bigger party and has more MPs," the source noted.According to another Puea Pandin source, some party MPs close to Pairote would join Ruam Chart Pattana as soon as dissolution of the House of Representatives was announced. Another possibility was for the two parties to retain their political alliance after the next general election.

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