Chart Thai Pattana awaits Pheu Thai stance on Article 112, its PM candidate
Chart Thai Pattana Party is willing to join the Pheu Thai-led coalition to help form a new government if the coalition leaves Article 112, or the lèse-majesté law, of the Thai Criminal Code untouched, party leader Varawut Silpa-Archa said on Tuesday.
Varawut was speaking after a meeting with Pheu Thai executives to discuss voting during the next session of Parliament to elect Thailand’s 30th prime minister, scheduled for Friday.
Varawut, the outgoing minister of natural resources and the environment, said his party also preferred a majority government, led by a prime minister endorsed by the majority of 750 parliamentarians, instead of only a majority of 500 MPs.
Pheu Thai recently took over the leadership of the coalition to form the next government after Move Forward stepped aside following the failure of its leader and sole PM candidate, Pita Limjaroenrat, to secure majority support from Parliament.
Move Forward, which has advocated amending Article 112, won the most seats in the lower House with 151 MPs in the May 14 general election, followed by Pheu Thai at 140 seats. Chart Thai Pattana won 10 seats, mostly from constituencies in its stronghold Suphan Buri province.
Varawut added that he was awaiting clarification from Pheu Thai on its stance towards Article 112 and its PM candidate. His remark was a reference to a video clip of Srettha Thavisin, one of Pheu Thai’s three prime ministerial candidates, saying during election campaign that he intended to amend the lèse-majesté law.
Varawut’s sister, Kanchana Silpa-Archa, who serves as Chart Thai Pattana’s chief adviser, emphasised on Tuesday that the party would not work with any political party that insults or belittles the monarch.
“This applies to the stance of all party members past, present and future. I cannot make it any clearer that we will not work with Move Forward Party,” she said.
Varawut and Kanchana are children of the late Banhan Silpa-Archa, Thailand’s 21st prime minister of the Thai Nation Party, which has been succeeded by the Chart Thai Pattana Party.
Meanwhile, Prapat Pothasuthon, Chart Thai Pattana’s secretary-general, told the press on Tuesday that his meeting with exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in Hong Kong last week was only to congratulate him on his 74th birthday.
The meeting lasted about two hours and involved no political discussion, said Prapat, the outgoing deputy agricultural minister.
Prapat said the former PM mentioned his plan to return to Thailand on August 10 to meet his grandchildren. Thaksin would arrive on a private jet at Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok and then will head to the Supreme Court to listen to charges filed against him, he added.
Thaksin was accused of several cases of corruption, carrying jail sentences for over 10 years.