Pheu Thai insists it has legitimate right to form govt

Pheu Thai insists it has legitimate right to form govt

Pheu Thai secretary-general Phumthai Wechayachai (second left on the podium) leads the party's first general assembly in five years. (Photo by Aphichit Jinakul)
Pheu Thai secretary-general Phumthai Wechayachai (second left on the podium) leads the party's first general assembly in five years. (Photo by Aphichit Jinakul)

With the highest number of MPs in parliament under its command, the Pheu Thai Party has the legitimate right to form a government before the party in the second place, Pheu Thai secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai said on Sunday.

Speaking after the party's first general assembly in five years, Mr Phumtham said that apart from certifying the past expenditure and political activities of the party, the meeting discussed the political situation after the March 24 election -- and reached the conclusion that Pheu Thai, which looked certain to command the highest number of MPs in the House of Representatives, should be given the first chance to form a government.

Pro-military parties have tried to go against this tradition, he said, adding: "Never before has a party which came second in terms of House seats been given the first right to form a government, he added.

According to Mr Phumtham, the claim by a pro-military party that by coming first in the popular vote, it had a greater right than Pheu Thai to try to form a government was delusional.

The Pheu Thai secretary-general said the assembly resolved that party members and various party committees, including the economic affairs committee, should prepare to address a host of issues once it was clear the party was to try to form a government.

But if the party was not successful in doing so, those committees would continue in their work, he said. MPs were to go to their constituencies to compile people's opinions concerning constitutional amendments and set up a party branch in every constituency to cope with a possible change in the political situation.

Asked to comment on reports that Pheu Thai was replacing its party leader and preparing to lead the opposition in parliament, Mr Phumtham said the party still insists it has the legitimate right to form a government.  However, since the election results are not yet clear and the 250 senators are not yet in place, Pheu Thai is prepared for any situation -- but is not contemplating a change in party leader.

Mr Phumtham said he was confident an agreement ratified by the leaders of seven political parties, with Pheu Thai as the core, to prevent the junta from retaining power was still solid. He did not name the parties.

"Any attempt to break this coalition by whatever method -- including buying of the so-called 'cobras' -- would be disgraceful. It would have an effect on political decision-making in the future and would set a sad example for democracy," he added.

On a proposal for the formation of a national unity government, Mr Phumtham said he believes democratic procedures will find a solution, adding that the proposal to form such a government is unjustified for the time-being.


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