Pro-junta political groups yesterday claimed the next election would see the rise of a new coalition while predicting the Shinawatra camp and the Pheu Thai Party would be defeated.
Suthep Thaugsuban, a key leader of the Action Coalition of Thailand Party (ACT), yesterday expressed confidence that the pro-military party would be a part of the next government. The upcoming election would see no outright winner, and so the only form of government possible would be a coalition, he said at a reforms-focused seminar hosted by his People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) Foundation.
“The most attractive party that truly represents the people [is] us, the one and only party everybody [will] love to join with to form a government,” Suthep said.
Asked if ACT would join Pheu Thai if the Shinawatra-backed party won the most seats, Suthep said he could confirm that Pheu Thai would not be a part of that government.
Suthep made the comments after former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, a figure said to be still influential in Pheu Thai, recently expressed confidence that the party would win a landslide victory in the next election.
“That’s what Thaksin says but this is what I say,” said Suthep, formerly a key member of Pheu Thai’s arch-rival Democrat Party and the leader of the controversial PDRC movement that paved the way for the ouster of the Pheu Thai government almost five years ago.
Suthep refused to answer a question on whether the ACT would join with the Democrat Party to form a government. He explained that he was no longer a Democrat and would rather not talk about his past affiliation.
Suthep said the ACT next Sunday would hold an assembly to vote for the party’s executives. While it is widely speculated that respected political scientist Anek Laothamatas would take the lead in the party, Suthep said it was up to party members to vote.
Some 500 members were expected to join this first assembly, he said.
Meanwhile, secretary of the so-called Sam Mitr (Three Allies) group, Pirom Pholvises, yesterday said General Prayut Chan-o-cha could be as popular as former PM Thaksin. Sam Mitr is believed to be enticing former MPs from different parties to form a political party to back Prayut in the next election.
Some members of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) in the Shinawatra camp strongholds such as the northeastern province of Kalasin, have also signalled they were willing to join the pro-Prayut team if it would bring improvements for the locals, Pirom claimed.
“Though they say the Northeast loves Thaksin, we see that some of them love Prayut, too,” Pirom said.
If the government showed good performance, Prayut could even become the permanent PM for the rest of his life, Pirom said.