'We need more time', Democrats tell Palang Pracharath

'We need more time', Democrats tell Palang Pracharath

Palang Pracharath Party leader Uttama Savanayana (right) shakes hands with Democrat Party secretary-general Chalermchai Sri-on at the Democrat Party's headquarters in Bangkok on Monday. (Photo by Pawat Laopaisarntaksin)
Palang Pracharath Party leader Uttama Savanayana (right) shakes hands with Democrat Party secretary-general Chalermchai Sri-on at the Democrat Party's headquarters in Bangkok on Monday. (Photo by Pawat Laopaisarntaksin)

Democrat Party members remain undecided even after the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) on Monday formally invited it to join its coalition, according to its secretary-general.

Democrat secretary-general Chalermchai Sri-on said the party needed a little more time to make the decision.

“We don’t accept the offer today not because we lack unity. Either way, I’ll have to be able to give party members explanations why. In any case, today is a good start,” he said.

Meanwhile, former Democrat MP Watchara Petchthong raised a placard at the party’s headquarters. It read: “We don’t support Prayut as PM”.

Mr Watchara claimed a large number of Democrat party members nationwide couldn’t accept the continuation of the ruling power. “I agree with our former party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva’s stand earlier and I don’t support Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha as prime minister.”

Shortly before the March 24 election, Mr Abhisit announced he would not support Gen Prayut as prime minister as part of his campaign pledge. However, he stopped short of saying whether his party would join PPRP — the party that proposed the general as the PM.

Mr Abhisit later resigned after a dismal showing of the party after the poll. Jurin Laksanavisit was later elected to replace him.     

Earlier on Monday, PPRP executives visited the Democrat Party to invite it to join its coalition, saying Democrats' stance against its prime ministerial candidate Prayut Chan-o-cha was a thing of the past.

PPRP leader Uttama Savanayana led other party key members, including secretary-general Sontirat Sontijirawong, Suriya Juangroongruangkit and Somsak Thepsuthin, to the Democrat headquarters.

Mr Uttama said that he was officially inviting the Democrat Party to join PPRP's coalition for the sake of national development and public interest even though the allocation of ministerial positions had yet to be settled.

Asked if PPRP required the Democrat Party to support Gen Prayut as the new prime minister, Mr Uttama said PPRP hoped its allies to vote for Gen Prayut.

"I think that coalition parties understand that working together means supporting one another in subsequent steps," Mr Uttama said.

Asked for a comment on the Democrat Party's earlier stance not to support Gen Prayut as the new prime minister, Mr Uttama said that the matter was the past.

"Today we should not create a new condition. Today there’s a good sign we’ll move ahead together," Mr Uttama said.

Asked if PPRP achieved its coalition formation effort, Mr Uttama said PPRP hoped the parties that had expressed their interest would support it and PPRP was confident of being able to form the government.

During the weekend, Anutin Charveerakul, leader of Bhumjaithai, the other mid-sized party yet to decide which side it would join, said his party would likely join the PPRP-led coalition, citing more stability going forward and an opportunity to make good on its campaign pledges.

Observers said the PPRP had been emboldened by the show of support of the two parties after the House of Representatives met on Saturday and Sunday.

In a move viewed as a test its support ahead of the crucial prime ministerial vote later this month, PPRP managed to get the Democrats and Bhumjaithai to support its nominations in the votes on the House speaker and his deputies, despite narrow victory margins.

If the three undecided parties — Democrats, Bhumjaithai and Chart Pattana — join its coalition, the PPRP-led government will muster 253 votes in the 500-member House. 


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