Senator Wanchai upbeat on Pheu Thai’s win in next PM vote
A senator said he was confident that the Pheu Thai Party PM candidate will win support from lawmakers in the next PM vote, provided its coalition has more than 250 MPs.
Senator Wanchai Sornsiri said on Tuesday that he is certain most senators will vote for former property tycoon Srettha Thavisin in the next round.
On Monday, Pheu Thai announced it was forming a coalition with Bhumjaithai Party, starting with 212 MPs. They will require new partners to command a simple majority in the House of Representatives or at least 250 MPs.
“I’m confident senators will support him [Srettha] because they also want to see the next government set up as soon as possible,” Wanchai said.
Any further delay in establishing the government will win the Senate criticism from the public for obstructing the country’s administration, he added.
“So, I’m confident the next round of PM voting will see the next prime minister being elected,” Wanchai said.
The May 14 election’s second winner, Pheu Thai, has replaced Move Forward as the chief party to assemble the next government after 250 senators, appointed by coup makers, blocked Move Forward’s PM candidate Pita Limjaroenrat from being elected. Their point of contention was that his party wants to amend Article 112 of the Penal Code or the lese majeste law.
Parliament President Wan Muhamad Noor Matha has postponed the next PM vote until after the Constitutional Court makes a decision on a petition from the ombudsman on whether a parliamentary regulation on the PM vote contravened the charter. The court is scheduled to decide on August 19 as to whether it will accept the petition for review.
As for allegations from whistleblower Chuwit Kamolvisit that Srettha may have evaded taxes while he was CEO of property developer Sansiri, Wanchai said the issue can be later investigated by relevant agencies or the opposition.
The senator added that the inclusion of Palang Pracharath and United Thai Nation parties in the coalition will not have an impact on the senators’ decision on whether they will support Pheu Thai.
“From my talks with several other senators, they don’t care about this point as they are not allowed to favour any party in particular. Senators must instead side with the people,” Wanchai said.
“The party that can muster majority support in the Lower House will receive senators’ support only after it rules out amendments to Article 112.”
However, Senator Seree Suwanpanont said on Tuesday that he cannot tell whether senators will vote for the Pheu Thai-led coalition because the party has not yet announced other partners.
“The coalition, so far, only has some 200 MPs. We don’t know yet whether other parties like Palang Pracharath and United Thai Nation will join the coalition or not,” Seree said.
He added that the coalition’s composition will have an impact on the senators’ decision in the next PM vote.
Seree said he believes Srettha is qualified for the PM’s post, but senators have yet to see where he stands with amending the lese majeste law, and if he has done anything wrong that may disqualify him.
Political activist Ruangkrai Leekitwattana has asked the Senate committee on political development to investigate Srettha on the tax evasion allegation.
Seree said the panel will consider Ruangkrai’s complaint. If it finds it has no authority to deliberate on the issue, it will pass the complaint on to another panel.