Home  >  News

Thailand: Parties Jockey To Form New Govt


BANGKOK, THAILAND: The disqualification of People Power Party (PPP) leader Samak Sundaravej from the prime minister's position on Tuesday (9 Sept) has set Thailand's political clock back to late January, when the PPP was attempting to form a government after emerging as the single largest party from last December's elections.

Political parties were manoeuvring Wednesday (10 Sept) to form a new government, with much bargaining for alliances and Cabinet seats as the opposition Democrat Party - eclipsed for years after former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's rise to power - seeks to get back into government.

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva told reporters he had proposed to all parties a 'national government' with himself as the head.

"The best way to resolve the crisis is to form a national (unity) government in which all parties join hands for the sake of peace and national reconciliation," he said.

"I am ready to be the prime minister if Parliament asks me to do the job," he added.

However, analysts believe the Democrats have only an outside chance because in the current polarised political environment, MPs would be seen as traitors if they switch sides.

The PPP thus remains most likely to form a government, but whether Samak will be re-appointed prime minister when parliament reconvenes on 12 Sept is not certain, even though some favour him.

Debate over this will likely continue until tonight.

PPP deputy leader Somchai Wongsawat - Thaksin's brother-in-law - is one of those in the running for the post. He is favoured by a bloc of party MPs from the north-east.

Meanwhile, the Democrat Party is open to negotiations with other parties to form an alternative coalition as well.

"We are ready to join hands with any parties or groups to solve the problems that have besieged the country," party secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban said Wednesday.

According to reports, that includes tempting Chart Thai leader Banharn Silapa-archa with the prime minister's post.

But after a meeting with Chart Thai party, Somchai discounted the idea of defections.

"I am confident that our six-party government will hold together strongly, and I am sure that there will be no rebellion," he said.

"For prime minister, we will consult again among PPP members in the next few days," he told reporters.

The Chart Thai party, with 37 seats, is the second largest in the six-party coalition. The PPP won 233 of 480 parliamentary seats last December. With its coalition partners, it controls 315 seats.

Meanwhile, the anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) remains encamped at Government House, and Wednesday issued a list of demands.

The PAD said it considered Samak's disqualification a vindication of its protest, adding that its 'sacred mission' to protest at Government House "must continue".

"The PAD warns the House of Representatives to support good people in coming to power and prevent evil people from gaining power," it said. It added that it considered "members of the PPP to lack the legitimacy to administer the country as they have violated election law".

Whatever form the next government takes, it will remain unstable.

Speaking to foreign journalists late on Tuesday, Chaturon Chaisang, former deputy prime minister in the Thaksin administration who is widely respected for his democratic credentials, said politicians saw Samak's disqualification as "just another event".

"This is because the whole crisis is something greater... a fundamental political conflict of the past 76 years since 1932, over whether or not there should be democracy, and whether Thailand accepts that everyone must be ruled by law, equally."

He added: "I do not see any workable solution to this crisis yet. I don't think anyone can see a workable solution yet." (By NIRMAL GHOSH/ The Straits Times/ ANN)

MySinchew 2008.09.11

Copyright © 2019 Sin Chew Media Corporation Berhad (98702-V).
All rights reserved. Contact us : [email protected]