Anutin demands Pheu Thai denounce plan to amend Article 112, declare new coalition partners first
Bhumjaithai Party leader Anutin Charnvirakul has called on Pheu Thai Party to first officially denounce the amendment of the lese majeste law and announce exactly who will be part of its coalition.
He said the former real-estate tycoon, Srettha Thavisin, who is tipped to be nominated as Pheu Thai’s sole PM candidate in the next round of voting, should first promise he will never seek to amend or scrap Article 112 of the Penal Code.
The next PM vote is tentatively scheduled for Friday.
Anutin also said that Pheu Thai needs to clearly announce its coalition partners before Bhumjaithai votes for its PM candidate.
Anutin, who is the outgoing public health minister, was speaking to reporters after Pheu Thai announced earlier in the day that it was abandoning the initial alliance created by Move Forward Party to create its own coalition.
The coalition created by Move Forward was bound by a memorandum of understanding.
This move came after all parties of the exiting coalition government told Pheu Thai that they would not work with or join a Pheu Thai-led coalition if Move Forward stays.
Pheu Thai was handed the baton to lead the coalition after Move Forward failed to get its leader, Pita Limjaroenrat, elected to the post of prime minister.
Pita was unsuccessful in winning enough votes because most senators objected to his party’s moves to amend the lese majeste law.
Meanwhile, Anutin said Pheu Thai has not yet asked his party to join the coalition. When asked if he would nominate as PM candidate in the next round of voting, Anutin replied: “We have not discussed this yet. Today we just held a normal party meeting, a day before the Parliament convenes for its weekly meeting.
“We must first wait and see if Pheu Thai will invite us to join the coalition or not. So far, there have been no signals from Pheu Thai.”
Meanwhile, Anutin said he met Pheu Thai’s core members a couple of weeks ago and informed them that Bhumjaithai will not support a coalition that seeks to amend Article 112, a minority government or a coalition that has Move Forward as a partner.
When asked about the possibility of Pheu Thai bringing Move Forward back as a partner after Srettha becomes prime minister, Anutin said that would be impossible as Pheu Thai would first have to clearly announce its partners.
“Its partners will have to be clearly announced as it is a crucial matter. This cannot be obscure. A vote cannot take place without a clear announcement of coalition partners,” he reiterated.
Anutin added that he has spoken with leaders of other parties of the outgoing government and they share a similar stance.
As for reports that Srettha had once said while campaigning for votes that he would seek to amend Article 112, Anutin said he believes the PM candidate would be ready to explain the issue.
He said he would wait for Srettha’s clarification after he is nominated in the next round of voting for PM.