Pheu Thai confident its top candidate Srettha will win in next PM vote


Pheu Thai Party expressed confidence its PM candidate will win in the next round of voting and that it will successfully form a ruling coalition by the start of September.

A joint parliamentary sitting to vote for the next prime minister is expected to be held either on Friday or next Tuesday, once the Constitutional Court decides to review the petition submitted by the ombudsmen.

The ombudsmen want the court to look into lawmakers’ moves to block the renomination of Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat as PM candidate.

Deputy Pheu Thai leader Phumtham Wechayachai told reporters on Tuesday that several political parties believe Thailand is now in a crisis and are ready to help the party resolve the situation.

Once the next round of PM voting is scheduled, Pheu Thai reckons its candidate, Srettha Thavisin, will garner enough votes to win the PM’s post, Phumtham said.

When asked if the party’s other PM candidate, Paetongtarn Shinawatra, may be an alternative if Srettha fails, Phumtham said: “We believe the party can only put forward a candidate once.”

The Pheu Thai-led coalition now comprises nine parties and is assured of 238 votes, far fewer than the 374 required to win the PM seat.

Hence, the party has no option but to join forces with either the two junta-backed parties – United Thai Nation and Palang Pracharath – or its long-standing rival Democrat Party, if it wishes to avoid forming a minority government.

Phumtham said the alliance is seeking support from everybody, regardless of the political divide.

He said Pheu Thai is planning to hold discussions on building a government together with United Thai Nation Party, whose PM candidate was outgoing Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Also, he said, all 40 Palang Pracharath MPs have said they will back Srettha in the next voting session. Palang Pracharath MP Pai Leeke has reportedly announced that the party is doing this without expecting anything in return.

Though Pheu Thai supporters have voiced displeasure at plans to link up with junta-sponsored parties, Phumtham insists that all party members backed the decision.

When asked about the allocation of ministries, Phumtham said this matter will be discussed once the PM takes office.

However, Bhumjaithai leader Anutin Charnvirakul said his party will discuss Cabinet seat quotas with the Pheu Thai no later than Wednesday.