Chart Thai Pattana ready to form coalition with any winning party: Varawut

SUNDAY, MARCH 05, 2023

Chart Thai Pattana Party is willing to form a coalition with any party that wins the next election, party leader Varawut Silpa-archa said recently.

In an interview with The Nation Weekend, which was aired on Saturday, Varawut said his party will most definitely consider joining any party that wins the most House seats.

The politician, who is also the natural resources and environment minister, said: “We must give priority to the side with the House majority. The country cannot be run through the support of senators or the minority side.”

Varawut was referring to provisional clauses in the Constitution that are seen as being designed to help then-coup leader General Prayut Chan-o-cha perpetuate administrative power.

The charter allows senators to join MPs in selecting the PM during the first eight years of the charter’s enactment.

Thanks to these provisions, Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP), which nominated Prayut as its only PM candidate, managed to win the PM’s seat even though it came second in the 2019 general election. Pheu Thai had won the most seats in the last election.

PPRP managed to manoeuvre support from smaller parties to form a coalition, leaving the winner Pheu Thai out cold on the opposition bench. Prayut’s party allegedly cited clauses that give senators power to name a PM.

Varawut, meanwhile, expects the next coalition to be formed in July or August when the fiscal 2024 budget bill needs to be deliberated by the House of Representatives.

If the next coalition fails to get majority support in the House, its budget bill can get shot down and the government would lose the legitimacy to stay. This would result in a new election being held, Varawut said.

Chart Thai Pattana ready to form coalition with any winning party: Varawut Asked if Chart Thai Pattana would join Pheu Thai to form a coalition, Varawut only said it would depend on his party’s performance at the election.

He said that if his party did not manage to capture enough House seats, Pheu Thai would not choose it as a coalition partner anyway.

“It won’t depend on our choice, but on theirs,” Varawut said.

He added that his party will also push for amendments because he believes the current charter is stopping MPs from helping their constituents to the fullest of their ability.

“The charter is unbalanced because it ties down and blocks MPs from helping those in need,” Varawut said.

He explained that the charter prevents MPs from getting involved in budget distribution, so they cannot seek enough funding to support their constituents.

Chart Thai Pattana ready to form coalition with any winning party: Varawut Varawut said if his party has a say after the election, it would propose the setting up of a constitution drafting assembly (CDA), like the one created by his father, late former PM Banharn Silpa-archa. Banharn was the Chart Thai leader at the time.

He said Banharn had brought critics and people from all walks of life together in the CDA, which resulted in a “balanced charter”.

As for how he expects his party to do in the upcoming election, Varawut said his party hopes to win 25-30 House seats. Currently, it has 12 seats in the House.

He also admitted that the party’s electoral policies focusing on the environment are not tangible for voters, but said it will work harder to win votes.

One of the party’s policies is to encourage farmers to change their method of rice farming so Thailand can continue exporting jasmine rice to the United States without facing an environmental tariff barrier.

This year’s general election has been tentatively set for May 7.