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in-focus

Phalang Pracharat takes time out


PHALANG PRACHARAT Party politicians will revisit Cabinet portfolio offers, after key potential partner parties expressed discomfort at the involvement of the junta chief in deciding ministry posts.

Sources said this time politicians would come up with new offers, with limited interference from the current powers that be, and would take into account each party’s policies as |well as the stability of the future |government, before returning for talks with potential coalition |partners.
The development follows days of confusion on forming a new coalition government after the pro-junta bloc was unable to close the deal, despite progress in Phalang Pracharat emerging as the coalition leader.
The deal also hit repeated snags due to discord over the allocation of certain ministerial portfolios among the allies.
The deals were expected to be sealed before the selection of the prime minister, which Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam said could take place next Tuesday. However, it has been made clear that junta chief General Prayut Chan-o-cha would have the final say on the Cabinet line-up.
The current negotiations showed Phalang Pracharat losing most of the economy-related ministries to the medium-sized Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties. However, the party remained wary of their impact on the next election, so it decided to take a step back and reconsider the allotments.
However, if agreements are not reached at this stage, Phalang Pracharat could opt to resume talks on setting up a government after the selection of the prime minister.
The party has 116 MPs and has secured the support of 10 minor parties that have one MP each. Those numbers, along with the backing of 250 junta-appointed senators, seems to give Phalang Pracharat enough votes to reinstall Prayut as head of the government.
The situation has confirmed political analysts’ predictions that smaller parties would have significant bargaining power in the government formation. 
Because the electoral system does not allow any party to emerge an outright winner with enough seats to form a government on its own, it had been foreseen that medium-sized parties would hold power as kingmakers, as has been seen in recent days.
In a related development, the anti-junta bloc led by Pheu Thai and Future Forward parties were considering nominating candidates for PM.
There is a possibility that Pheu Thai might nominate its popular figure Chadchart Sittipunt for PM after its de facto leader Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan had announced that she was ready to sacrifice the position in order to stop the return of the junta to power.
However, party spokesperson Laddawan Wongsriwong said yesterday that Pheu Thai had put off the meeting until a date is set for the selection of the PM.
Meanwhile, Future Forward spokesperson Pannika Wanich said the party wanted to nominate its leader, Thanathorn Juangroong-ruangkit, to take the top government job.
Though Thanathorn has been suspended from functioning as an MP by the Constitutional Court until a ruling on the case against him over alleged media shareholding, Pannika said Thanathorn has the qualification to be the PM and is also suited for the position because of the public’s trust.
However, Pannika said, discussions within the bloc should be restarted to settle the issue in case parties held different views.

 

Published : May 30, 2019

By : The Nation