Suthep picks ACT party for coalition govt

Suthep picks ACT party for coalition govt

Founders to select leader on Aug 5

Suthep 'Kamnan' Thaugsuban unveiled the key general policy of his Action Coalition for Thailand (ACT) to the media on Sunday. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)
Suthep 'Kamnan' Thaugsuban unveiled the key general policy of his Action Coalition for Thailand (ACT) to the media on Sunday. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

Former street protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban expressed confidence Sunday his new Ruamphalang Prachachartthai Party, or the Action Coalition for Thailand (ACT), would be part of a future coalition government.

He also announced that the ACT founders would hold an assembly on Aug 5 to select a party leader and an executive board and submit the result to the Election Commission (EC) for endorsing its status as a political party.

Mr Suthep, who played an active role in founding the ACT, said no party would win a landslide victory in a election, which would lead to the formation of a coalition government.

According to Mr Suthep, among dozens of political outfits, the ACT was the most "charming" political outfit and it would truly represent the people.

His remarks came a few days after fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra predicted the Pheu Thai Party would emerge victorious at the next polls.

Speaking on his birthday last Thursday, Thaksin, the de facto leader of the former ruling party, said the regime was losing support and turning the odds in favour of the party he once led.

Mr Suthep, who led the now-defunct People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) to protest against the last Pheu Thai administration, also rejected Thaksin's speculation that Pheu Thai would win.

Asked if the ACT would form a government with the Pheu Thai if the latter emerged victorious, he said there was no chance the former ruling party would be part of the next government.

The former protest leader, however, declined to comment on the Democrat Party he once served as the party's secretary-general when asked about a possibility of the two working as coalition partners.

He refused to speculate who would assume leadership, saying it would be decided at the meeting. Speculation is rife that academic-turned-politician Anek Laothamatas and former finance minister MR Jatumongkol Sonakul were potential candidates for the post.

The ACT debuted in early June with Mr Suthep admitting he would take up the post as a recruiter and fund-raiser for the new party.

However, Mr Suthep insisted on not taking any party executive or political position should the party win the election.

Also Sunday, the Pheu Thai Party insisted its political base in the northern region remained unaffected in the wake of reports that its politicians were abandoning the party for a pro-regime party.

Samart Kaewmeechai, a former Pheu Thai MP for Chiang Rai, said party members in the upper north confirmed their membership and former MPs were likely to represent the party in the next polls.

He said the party would recruit new people to contest in constituencies in the lower North and residents would have a say in screening potential candidates.

Mr Samart also said the party's chance of winning more seats in the lower north would be boosted if veteran politicians Pradit Pattaraprasit and Nakorn Machim joined the party.

Mr Pradit is a former Democrat heavyweight while Mr Nakorn is a former Democrat MP for Phitsanulok.

Both were reportedly considering joining the Pheu Thai Party.

Meanwhile, Pirom Polwiset, secretary of the Sam Mitr (Three Allies) group, voiced confidence the group would defeat Pheu Thai in the northeastern contest.

He said the group was lagging behind Pheu Thai by 10% but it would be able to catch up and beat the former ruling party once election campaigning was allowed.

The Sam Mitr group is known to be close to a pro-regime party which vouches for the return of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha after the poll. It is said to be recruiting talent from other parties on behalf of the pro-regime party.

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