Wednesday, September 18, 2019

New government in place by Thursday, sources say

Jun 07. 2019
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By The Nation

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Thailand's new government is expected to be established next Thursday, sources in the Phalang Pracharat Party said, amid continuing uncertainty over Cabinet portfolios.

The timeline is to ensure that the government is set up before the country hosts the Asean Summit meeting from June 20 to 23.

More than two months after the election, and days after the successful election of the prime minister that saw the return of the junta leader, the pro-military bloc has yet to reach agreement over ministerial positions.

The Phalang Pracharat Party that will lead the coalition, reportedly insisted on keeping economy-related ministries that it had earlier agreed to allocate to key partners in the Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties. These ministries were agriculture, commerce, and transport.

The change came after both parties announced their stance to support the bloc and had voted Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha to be the PM for a second term.

A source, who was a core leader in Phalang Pracharat, said the previous deals had been cancelled. If the Democrats and Bhumjaithai would not accept the new agreement, Prayut - who was now the legitimate PM - would have the final say on the issue.

Sources also said the disagreement had stemmed from the election of the PM on Wednesday, where Prayut was grilled for 12 hours before the vote.

The house was controlled by Democrat’s Chuan Leekpai who had been elected the House Speaker with the support from the pro-junta bloc.

Phalang Pracharat decided it could not lose crucial positions to the partners or it would be at a bigger disadvantage, the sources said. It would also make the administration difficult, they added.

If Phalang Pracharat does not have control over these key ministries, economist Somkid Jatusripitak would also withdraw from bloc, it has been reported.

The new talks with the partner parties would be based on the political party system, where party executives lead the negotiations and the decisions are made in party meetings, the sources said.

On Friday, junta leaders Prayut and Gen Prawit Wongsuwan also left their offices around the same time in the middle of the day. Both did not have any planned appointments on the day and it was suspected they might have gone out to discuss Cabinet portfolios.

Prayut does not normally leave Government House unless he has scheduled appointments.

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