Democrat faction backs Prayut-led PPRP government

Democrat faction backs Prayut-led PPRP government

Thaworn Senneam (second from left) holds an informal meeting of some Democrat members on Friday to discuss a push for the party to join a coalition led by the Palang Pracharath Party. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)
Thaworn Senneam (second from left) holds an informal meeting of some Democrat members on Friday to discuss a push for the party to join a coalition led by the Palang Pracharath Party. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)

About 30 Democrat members on Friday voiced support for Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha to continue running the country in a government led by the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), according to Thaworn Senneam.

The MP-elect for Songkhla said his colleagues wanted the Democrats to side with the PPRP in forming a coalition government with Gen Prayut as the prime minister.

Some even wanted the party to officially announce the position before May 9 to put an end to speculation before the coronation of His Majesty the King, he added.

Taking part in the PPRP-led government will move the country forward, he said.

He made the comments after the group held an informal meeting at party headquarters in Bangkok. It was the second push orchestrated by Mr Thaworn after an earlier round of talks on March 28.

Some of the participants, including Mr Thaworn, Chitpas Krisdakorn and Atavit Suwannapak­dee, were part of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee street protests to oust the government led by then prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra of the Pheu Thai Party. Those protests, led by former Democrat strongman Suthep Thaugsuban, paved the way for Gen Prayut’s coup in 2014.

Even before the talks on Friday, Mr Thaworn had been vocal in expressing his desire to see the Democrats join PPRP.

Party chief adviser and former premier Chuan Leekpai also held talks with him before Friday’s meeting but later left the forum.

Former party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, acting leader Jurin Laksanavisit and acting deputy Korn Chatikavanij did not take part in the talks.

Mr Abhisit said before the election that he opposed Gen Prayut remaining as prime minister after the poll as it would lead to more conflicts. He resigned as party leader on election night after the Democrats suffered humiliating losses. They won 55 constituency and party-list seats based on unofficial results, compared with 159 in the 2011 election, and failed to win a single seat in their Bangkok stronghold.

Mr Thaworn reiterated that the personal stance of the former party leader did not reflect the party’s position.

He said he would forward the outcome of the meeting on Friday to the acting executive board to make the decision.

The PPRP, which came second in the election in terms of seats, is competing with Pheu Thai for allies in a coalition government, noting that it came first in the popular vote, by 8.4 million to 7.9 million.

Pheu Thai and six other parties including Future Forward have already announced plans for a “democratic front” coalition that would have a bare majority of 255 seats in the 500-seat House if current calculations hold.

However, the Election Commission is currently reviewing 300 complaints, including 66 against constituency winners, and it is not clear how different the final numbers will be.

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