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FRIDAY, October 07, 2022
Parties ponder their future if charter passes referendum

Parties ponder their future if charter passes referendum

MONDAY, April 18, 2016

“A NEW POLITICAL power with the junta’s backing is expected to emerge after the elections, facilitated by provisions in the charter draft,” Pheu Thai Party caretaker secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai predicted yesterday.

It may leave political parties facing an unknown future, he added.
“Large parties, as well as medium and small ones, have no idea how they are going to be affected by the new rules. Our future largely depends on these new rules. It looks like we will have minority rule and a system that caters to a power not linked to election by the people,’’ Phumtham said.
Democrat Party deputy leader Nipit Intarasombat expressed a similar opinion.
“The new rules that allow senators to select the PM will create many problems because they would allow the formation of a minority government,” he said, adding, “If legislation sponsored by MPs is voted down, the government will last only three to four months. The government after an election will not survive because it cannot implement its policies,’’ he said.
Not only the two large parties, but minority parties also feel “uneasy” about the threat of discrimination by the junta against politicians. A key former Pheu Thai official, who did not want to be named, said the new rules under the charter draft were written not to reform the country but to crack down on politicians. “The people behind the new rules are not better than politicians,’’ he said.
Although political observers believe it would be difficult for Pheu Thai to win a landslide victory, its party members still believe they will maintain the number one position.
“Being number one is not enough, we have to win a landslide victory to form a government. Some measures are being drawn up to prevent us from winning and to counter us if we do win,’’ the Pheu Thai source said.
The Democrats are clearly a major rival of Pheu Thai, though in their critics’ opinion they are not a challenge to the National Council for Peace and Order. The Democrats could never rise to power without the backing of the junta, Pheu Thai believes.
In the eyes of the junta, the Democrats could not show resistance to the military. But the Democrats themselves are split. Some tend to side with the junta and there are people like former Democrat Suthep Thaugsuban who openly backs the military.
Reports suggest there could be a change in the Democrat leadership because the people in power do not want the Democrats to become an obstacle.