Parties look at excluding Senate from choosing PM
text size

Parties look at excluding Senate from choosing PM

Political parties want the Senate excluded from joining in a prime minister vote if they can rustle up more than 250 MPs to form a coalition government, according to a forum conducted on Monday.

The event on Thailand's future after the next election expected on Feb 24 next year was attended by representatives of the Pheu Thai, Democrat, Chartthaipattana and New Palang Dharma parties.

Democrat deputy leader Jurin Laksanavisit told the forum that after the poll, parties which can muster majority support in the Lower House to form a coalition government must allowed to govern.

There will be 500 elected MPs and 250 senators, 50 of whom are elected in a cross-professional and social group vote. The rest of the senators are appointed by the National Council for Peace and Order with several seats reserved for armed forces leaders. The charter stipulates the Senate can step in and join MPs in voting for an outsider to become prime minister.

This raises concerns among politicians that with 250 senators to back it, a pro-regime party could easily gain enough parliamentary support to have a prime minister of its choice and form a government even though it and its coalition partners may not have a majority in the House of Representatives.

Pheu Thai's Chaturon Chaisang said he agreed in principle with Mr Jurin that the biggest party should have the first opportunity to form a coalition government without Senate intervention.

It was up to political parties to decide whether to come together and forge a coalition with a parliamentary majority to stave off the need for the Senate to vote.

New Phalang Dharma member Rawee Matchamadol said if parties can pool together more than 250 MPs, they should be able to rightfully claim the mandate to form a government. In that case, the Senate should stay out of the frame.

Siripong Angkasakulkiat, of Chartthaipattana, said his party would refuse to vote alongside the Senate for an outsider prime minister. Jatuporn Prompan said parties should cooperate to form a government without the need for Senate help to find a prime minister.

Do you like the content of this article?