Srettha ready to be next PM, suggests Pheu Thai may ditch Move Forward


Srettha Thavisin, one of Pheu Thai’s three prime ministerial candidates, suggested on Thursday that pulling out of the eight-party coalition led by the Move Forward Party could be inevitable and said he was ready to be Thailand’s next prime minister.

“I am a PM candidate for Pheu Thai. I must be ready to take care of economic matters as assigned by the party,” he told reporters.

A property tycoon turned politician, Srettha was also asked to comment on the possibility of “pushing Move Forward out of the coalition” after its PM candidate Pita Limjaroenrat failed to secure majority support from both Houses of Parliament.

“That’s simple math. You may count by yourself. Everyone knows about that,” he said, adding that it was “too early” to conclude that Pheu Thai would nominate him for the parliamentary vote to select the next prime minister in a coalition that excluded Move Forward.

Srettha said representatives from the eight coalition partners would soon discuss their next joint move. If they agree to allow Pheu Thai to nominate its candidate, the party’s executive board would select one of its three PM candidates for the vote.

At the joint parliamentary meeting on Wednesday, Pita was renominated for voting following his failed first attempt last Thursday. But most parliamentarians voted not to allow a second vote on the grounds that it was a repeated motion that should not be submitted in the same parliamentary session.

Srettha said on Thursday that amending Article 112 of the Penal Code – also known as the lese majeste law – must not be a policy of a coalition led by Pheu Thai because it could prevent it from gaining votes from many MPs and senators.

Political parties outside of the Move Forward-led coalition and several senators announced that they would not vote for any candidate from a party that seeks to abolish or amend the lese majeste law. Some senators argued that changes proposed by Move Forward would undermine the monarchy and national security.

Srettha stressed that the eight-party coalition would “remain united until any change”.

When asked if the coalition has done its utmost in backing Pita’s bid to become prime minister, Srettha said: “Legally speaking, it seems to be so.”

He also said that the coalition must be careful in nominating its next PM candidate as it has become a precedent that each candidate can be nominated only once during a parliamentary session.