Opinions split on collusion claims in poll
The Pheu Tham and Pheu Chart parties represent a diverse group of people within one circle, and both parties are designed to capture as many votes as possible for their allies under the new election system, said former National Security Council secretary-general and Pheu Thai member, Paradorn Pattanabut.
He said that there is a need for both parties to participate in the election in case the worst happens to Pheu Thai, referring to the party's possible dissolution under the current charter and organic laws.
Pheu Thai has had a troubled history, as the party itself was founded after the dissolution of the People's Power Party by the Constitutional Court for electoral fraud. "The People's Power Party was also founded following the disbandment of the Thai Rak Thai Party, also due to electoral fraud," said Lt Gen Paradorn.
He said Pheu Thai, Pheu Tham and Pheu Chart are supported by different voter bases and each has many members in their own right.
Lt Gen Paradorn added that Pheu Tham and Pheu Chart are a necessary part of a fight in the next poll because they can capture votes where Pheu Thai might not be able to.
He said the new election system permits the votes of losing MP candidates from a party nationwide to be combined. If there are enough votes, the party in question could gain more House seats.
Pheu Thai, according to political experts, are likely to win in many constituencies, leaving it with few losing votes to be counted for the party.
Pheu Tham and Pheu Chart, on the other hand, are not predicted to emerge as winners in the constituency polls, and could pick up several seats from the losing votes.
Lt Gen Paradorn said Pheu Chart, in particular, capitalises on the popularity of the red shirts with whom it retains strong ties. Jatuporn Prompan, former chairman of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), came into the picture as an important figure in Pheu Chart.
However, Lt Gen Paradorn denied the jailed former yellow-shirt People's Alliance for Democracy leader Sondhi Limthongkul has any link to Pheu Chart, which has been registered as party since 2013.
Sondhi and Jatuporn served time in the same prison. They met and talked, but their discussions were not likely about realising a political ambition or running a party, Lt Gen Paradorn said.
"These parties share the same ideals. They want to show that they are on the side of democracy in the next election," Lt Gen Paradorn said.
Jatuporn said it was impractical and illegal for Pheu Thai and Pheu Chart to collude. Each party will be fielding their own candidates across 350 constituencies nationwide, and there should be no concern about parties undercutting one another.