Pheu Thai to announce five more coalition partners today
Pheu Thai Party deputy leader Phumtham Wechayachai said on Wednesday morning that his party would announce five more coalition partners later in the day.
Phumtham said his party had held talks with another five prospective partners, which would send representatives to a press conference to announce their participation in the Pheu Thai-led coalition.
He said one new partner would be the Chart Pattana Kla Party, after he met with its chairman Suwat Liptapanlop on Tuesday night.
Pheu Thai sources said the four other parties are from the defunct Move Forward-led coalition, namely Prachachart, Seree Ruam Thai, Palang Sunkhom Mai and Thong Thee Thai.
Phumtham said Pheu Thai would later invite Pheu Thai Ruam Palang, which was also in the Move Forward bloc, to join the Pheu Thai coalition. Phumtham said the Pheu Thai Ruam Palang leader is on a trip upcountry and could not return in time for Wednesday’s joint press conference.
After taking the baton from election-winner Move Forward to try to form a coalition government, Pheu Thai dumped Move Forward on grounds that the party was abhorred by senators and parties of the previous coalition government. Pheu Thai then announced Bhumjaithai, a member of the outgoing government coalition, as its first partner.
Phumtham said the Pheu Thai would use the press conference later on Wednesday to apologise to Move Forward and ask for its support in the vote for Pheu Thai's PM candidate Srettha Thavisin in the next round. Phumtham added that the Pheu Thai would be willing to visit Move Forward to issue an apology and discuss solutions for the country’s crises.
He said Thailand is now besieged by three main crises – over the Constitution, the economy, and politics. A conventional government-opposition arrangement might not be appropriate for the current situation, he added. He said Pheu Thai would like to see the existing polarisation of politics eliminated so that all sides can join hands to solve the crises. Pheu Thai hoped Srettha would become a focus point around which all parties and sides could work together to rebuild Thailand and reduce conflict.
"We want support from all senators and MPs to tackle the crises and we will take up good policies of all parties as policies of the government,” Phumtham said.
With political polarisation overcome, Pheu Thai would also be willing to work with the Palang Prachrath (PPRP) and United Thai Nation (UTN) parties for the country’s sake, Phumtham added. The PPRP and UTN are known as parties of the two "uncles", a reference to Gen Prawit Wongsuwan and Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, who were disdained as coup-makers by the pro-democracy camp that included Pheu Thai and Move Forward.
"Let me say clearly that there will be no more polarisation. The best way is to set up the government first. Talking to other parties, none has refused the offer to join the coalition,” Phumtham added.
He said prospective partners had not demanded Cabinet seats in exchange for joining the coalition.
Suwat on Wednesday confirmed he had been invited to join the coalition.
He said his party would help Pheu Thai to successfully assemble a government because almost three months had passed since the election and Thailand was still without a new administration.
He said the political vacuum after the election and limited power of the caretaker government would affect investors’ confidence in Thailand.
He added that he was confident Pheu Thai would win the next PM vote and had been assigned to lobby senators to support its PM candidate.