Pheu Thai threatens to pull out of coalition talks if it’s not given House speaker’s post
The Pheu Thai Party has dropped a strong hint that it wants the House speaker’s post or will pull out of the coalition.
The potential coalition partner declared that it would be unfair if Move Forward decides to lead both the executive and legislative branches of the government.
Two top members of Pheu Thai expressed dismay a day after Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, former secretary-general of the Future Forward Party, said in a Facebook post that Move Forward must also take the House speaker’s post. The House speaker will become the ex-officio president of the Parliament.
Move Forward was formed when the charter court dissolved Future Forward over donation issues in 2020.
Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew sounded appalled when he responded on Wednesday, saying Piyabutr’s views could harm cooperation or talks over the post of PM.
Pheu Thai on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding with Move Forward and six other parties to form a coalition government. The coalition will see Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat as prime minister.
“I believe such comments do not bode well for the talks,” Cholnan said.
He said it is not necessary that the party with the largest number of MPs should also win the House speaker’s post. Instead, he said, everything should be decided in negotiations.
He added that Pheu Thai has several MPs, who are capable of becoming the Parliament’s president.
Adisorn Piangket, a Pheu Thai MP-elect, said if Move Forward wants to hold both the PM and House speaker’s posts, it should have won 377 seats in the lower House as Thai Rak Thai did in 2006.
Pheu Thai is a reincarnation of Thai Rak Thai, which was dissolved in 2007 over corruption and abuse of power.
“Since Move Forward will already have its young, capable leader as PM, it should not hold the post of House speaker at the same time,” Adisorn said, adding that the coalition leader should compromise with Pheu Thai on the matter.
“If Move Forward is stubborn over the issue, Pheu Thai may have to pull out and the formation of the coalition may flop.”
While Adisorn dropped a threat, Cholnan instructed Pheu Thai MPs-elect as well as failed candidates to watch what they say publicly for fear the party may be blamed if coalition talks fail later.
Cholnan was speaking to the MPs-elect and failed candidates at a party meeting on Wednesday.
“I would like to tell you all that we are now preparing to become the next government under the condition that the No 1 party in terms of MPs, or Move Forward, must be supported to win the post of prime minister,” Cholnan said.
“We are joining the coalition with sincerity and must refrain from setting conditions. Anything interpreted as driving a wedge or anything that can be seen as preventing the coalition’s formation must be avoided.”
He also reminded them that 70% of the votes were cast for the pro-democracy side (Move Forward and Pheu Thai), so they should be careful about expressing opinions that may be misconstrued.