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Pheu Thai says sorry to Future Forward over dissolution warning

Aug 28. 2019
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By The Nation

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The Pheu Thai Party Tuesday has issued a public apology to the Future Forward Party for saying its ally could face dissolution due to the case against its party leader.

The Pheu Thai held a press conference to apologise to Future Forward for causing worry to Future Forward MPs with the warning, but said the statement was made out of sincere concern.

The press conference was held by Pheu Thai secretary general Anudit Nakhonthap, Bokhin Palakula, a party strategist, chief opposition whip Suthin Klungsaeng, and Nan MP Chonlanan Srikaew.

Chonlanan said the warning was as a preemptive measure amidst concerns that the powers-that-be would have the Future Forward dissolved by the Constitutional Court.

The warning about possible dissolution stemmed from what the Pheu Thai called the “Paibul Model” and the media-sharing case against Future Forward leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit.

Paibul has informed the Election Commission of the decision by the executive board of his People Reform Party to disband. Paibul, the only MP of his party, informed the EC that he wanted to join the ruling Phalang Pracharat Party after the dissolution. The EC was uncertain as to whether Paibul could retain his parliamentary status after the party’s dissolution because he is a party-list MP and his transfer to the Phalang Pracharat could affect the coalition leader’s list of party-list MPs and the ratio for calculating overall party-list House seats. As a result, the EC has decided to seek a ruling from the Constitutional Court on Paibul’s case.

Thanathorn was accused of holding shares in his family’s media firm when he applied to contest a House seat, a practice prohibited by the Constitution. The case is pending a hearing by the Constitutional Court.

In an earlier warning, Suthin said the Pheu Thai feared that the Constitutional Court would rule that Paibul’s MP status would be terminated and his party’s disbanding could not be stopped as he has already informed the EC.

Suthin said the outcome, the so-called Paibul Model, would see the sacrifice of one party-list House seat of the coalition in exchange for the termination of Future Forward 50 party-list MPs. Suthin did not name Future Forward directly but said “a party next door”. Suthin said he feared that the court would dissolve the Future Forward because of the case against Thanathorn, thus causing 50 party-list MPs of the party to be out of office.

But the warning infuriated Future Forward, which held a press conference to question why the Pheu Thai was talking about it. Future Forward secretary general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul said Suthin had frightened Future Forward MPs and the Pheu Thai should have focused on the opposition’s duties instead of pointing out an opportunity for the government.

Chonlanan said the Pheu Thai was disrespectful to the Future Forward by calling it the “party next door”.

“We apologise to the Future Forward for causing concern. We said it all in all sincerity. We didn’t want to see Future Forward destroyed because of loopholes in the law. We simply wanted to pre-empt them from doing it,” Suthin told the press conference.

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