Pheu Thai vows to fight outsider PM

Pheu Thai vows to fight outsider PM

Call for alliance with other parties

The Pheu Thai Party has vowed to join forces with other political parties to stop a non-elected prime minister from coming to power after the next general election.

Samart Kaewmeechai, former Pheu Thai MP for Chiang Rai, said on Saturday the party is ready to unite with all political parties to oppose an outsider PM.

On Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam hinted that the chief of the military regime could use Section 44 of the interim constitution to dissolve the House of Representatives after the election if the process to select a prime minister drags on for months.

Mr Wissanu said he didn't mean to float the idea of dissolving the new House straight after the poll, but it was a suggestion to break an impasse if other solutions fail.

But if the selection of a prime minister goes on for five or six months, a constitutional solution to the problem could be for the Prayut Chan-o-cha government to dissolve the House, he said.

A provisional clause of the new charter allows the current government and the National Council for Peace and Order leader to remain in power, and Section 44 of the interim charter to remain in effect, until a new government takes office.

Gen Prayut, as the NCPO chief, will still retain absolute power under Section 44.

In light of this, it would be best for political parties to choose a prime minister from party lists of candidates, he said.

The Constitutional Court ruled on Wednesday that the Constitution Drafting Committee must amend Section 272 of the draft charter in line with the extra question in the referendum that was approved on Aug 7.

Most voters approved the extra question, which asked if the Senate should join MPs in selecting the next premier during a five-year transition period.

The court ruled that Section 272 needs amending for senators to join MPs in proposing a motion to suspend the rule requiring prime ministerial candidates to come from political party lists if a joint MP-Senate session fails to vote for a PM from those lists.

Presently, only MPs are allowed to propose a motion to suspend the rule.

After the rule is suspended, at least one-tenth of MPs can initiate a motion to propose that individuals not included on party lists be prime ministerial candidates, so the joint House-Senate session can vote to endorse a candidate.

However, the court determined senators are not permitted to nominate a PM.

Pheu Thai key figure Chaturon Chaisaeng said a non-elected outsider is highly likely to become prime minister.

"It looks as if Mr Wissanu wants to let it be known that the next prime minister will be an outsider, so there's no need to complain," Mr Chaturon said.

"This is because the new charter is designed to open the door for an outsider prime minister from the beginning, and then the referendum's extra question and an interpretation from the Constitutional Court naturally followed."

Mr Chaturon admitted it would be hard for parties, particularly major ones like Pheu Thai and the Democrats, to agree to join forces to oppose an outsider PM.

If the parties each propose their own candidates but they fail to win support from small and medium-sized parties, the chance of having a prime minister from party lists would be slim, he said.

United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship leader Jatuporn Prompan said it has become clear that a non-elected prime minister will come to power.

Rames Rattanachaweng, a Democrat Party deputy spokesman, said Mr Wissanu's House dissolution idea was a veiled threat aimed at forcing all sides to toe the military regime's line.

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