TST sets out condition on merger talk
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TST sets out condition on merger talk

Tells SATP not to back PM returning

The Thai Sang Thai Party (TST) has not ruled out a possible merger with the Sang Anakhot Thai Party (SATP) as long as the latter does not support Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha's prolonged stay in power, it said.

Sita Divari, secretary-general of the TST, said the new election law makes it extremely difficult for new and small parties to win the required number of House seats to be eligible to nominate a prime ministerial candidate for a vote in parliament.

Section 159 of the constitution stipulates that only a party with at least 25 seats (5% of the 500 House seats) can nominate a prime ministerial candidate for a joint sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate to vote on.

He said political parties will have to consolidate their support bases to secure the required number of seats. However, he stressed there has not been much progress made in talks and there are several issues yet to be thrashed out.

While TST leader Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan and Somkid Jatusripitak, chairman of the SATP, worked together in the Thai Rak Thai government, Mr Somkid joined the Prayut administration before later resigning, Mr Sita said.

"So it must be made clear whether they parted ways because they no longer shared the same ideology or due to their differing interests. A merger would be possible if his ideology differs from that of the Prayut government's.

Our party won't support his prolonged stay in power. We are clear on this: we can talk," he said.

SATP leader Uttama Savanayana said his party has been in talks with other parties including the TST about the political situation after the changes to the election law.

When asked about any potential political alliances, Mr Uttama said the SATP's allies should have a common ideology. He said it was too early to say whether the SATP and the TST could merge.

He said the party's ultimate goal is not just to win as many seats as possible, and that such a decision would be made based on what is best for the public.

Mr Uttama was coy when asked if the party would support Gen Prayut, saying the SATP had been set up to focus on tackling economic issues and would rather not discuss with which political bloc it would side while Gen Prayut's political future is to be decided by voters, he said.

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