Pheu Thai seeks pact with Democrats

Pheu Thai seeks pact with Democrats

Khunying Sudarat Keyurapan's proposal to Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva (left): Let's get together after the election to name a Pheu Thai MP as prime minister.
Khunying Sudarat Keyurapan's proposal to Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva (left): Let's get together after the election to name a Pheu Thai MP as prime minister.

The Pheu Thai Party might not win enough seats in the next election and has offered to join forces with arch rivals the Democrats in forming the next government, according to comments made by a core member of the party.

The high-level member, who did not wish to be identified, made the comments during a visit to China by leading Pheu Thai members, including Khunying Sudarat Keyurapan who heads the party's strategy committee.

The core leader said the new electoral system, under which large parties are predicted to win fewer seats than in previous polls, is not conducive to Pheu Thai having enough strength in parliament to have its candidate become prime minister.

The Pheu Thai member said the party stands ready to invite the Democrat Party, which could win between 80-100 seats, to join it in forming a coalition government.

Pheu Thai, the Democrats and their allies must have at least 375 seats between them in order for a Pheu Thai-nominated candidate to become prime minister.

A vote in parliament for the next prime minister from among candidates nominated by the political parties, will also involve 250 senators selected by the National Council for Peace and Order. A total of 750 parliamentarians will vote for a prime minister; 500 MPs and 250 senators.

The core Pheu Thai member says the party has floated an offer for Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva to be parliament president and allocated some 'top-grade' ministries to the Democrat Party in return for its support for a Pheu Thai-nominated prime ministerial candidate, reported to be Khunying Sudarat.

The core member said high-ranking Pheu Thai and Democrat members have been in talks to discuss the possibility of forging an alliance.

There were news reports of a discussion between key Pheu Thai figure Pokin Polakul and Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva about the two parties cooperating. However, both later denied the reports.

Meanwhile, Mr Abhisit admitted Monday that winning more than 140 seats in the next poll will be considered a success for his party while reiterating that he will quit as leader if the party garners less than 100 MPs.

Mr Abhisit said Monday the party won 160 seats in the previous election. But he admitted the Democrats could well end up with fewer MPs due to the new electoral system that is being introduced in the Feb 24 election.

Based on the 9.8 million votes it gained in the last election to be calculated in relation to the mixed-member proportional representation voting system being applied, the party estimates it should win about 140 seats in the next poll.

If the party wins more than 140, it would be deemed an electoral success. But it would not be totally unexpected if the party take less on account of stiffer competition than in the last election.

"I'm confident the Democrats will not get below 100," he said, adding he would resign from the party if that happened.

Mr Abhisit said the Democrats are offering a break from the status quo. The party has formulated policies in keeping with the changing circumstances in the country and it is offering real answers to the problems the public is facing, he added.

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