Dems still unsure on PPRP coalition

Dems still unsure on PPRP coalition

Key demands not yet met, says party source

Former Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva is leaving his party’s headquarters in Bangkok after a meeting to discuss its coalition decision was postponed indefinitely on Tuesday. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)
Former Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva is leaving his party’s headquarters in Bangkok after a meeting to discuss its coalition decision was postponed indefinitely on Tuesday. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)

The Democrat Party on Tuesday abruptly cancelled its meeting to decide whether to join an alliance led by the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) after failing to reach a deal over cabinet seats, a Democrat source said.

The party had been expected to join the coalition on Tuesday after reports that the PPRP had agreed to hand agriculture and commerce ministerial posts to them and agreed to its charter amendment demand.

The source said that the Democrat Party wanted three cabinet seats -- commerce, agriculture and social development -- in order to implement its policies, but the PPRP's key figures -- Somsak Thepsuthin and Suriya Jungrungreangkit -- refused to hand over the commerce and agriculture positions.

The source said that the PPRP wants to keep the commerce portfolio for secretary-general Sontirat Sontijirawong, who was formerly at the helm of the ministry, while the Democrats want their leader Jurin Laksanavisit to take the post instead.

Democrat spokesman Ramet Rattanachaweng said that a meeting of members of the executive board and MPs had to be postponed after the PPRP failed to reply to the party's "principles for working together".

Mr Ramet said that PPRP executives on Monday extended a formal invitation to the Democrat Party to join its alliance. The two parties discussed the principles to work on, such as constitutional amendments and the incorporation of the Democrats' election campaign pledges into the next government's policies.

The PPRP said that it would give a reply by 5pm on Tuesday ahead of the Democrats' meeting at 5.30pm.

"The meeting, therefore, had no information to consider. This is a problem for the PPRP to fix, not the Democrat Party," Mr Ramet said.

He said he knew nothing about a report that the PPRP was reluctant to give the agriculture and cooperatives ministerial position to the Democrats.

But Mr Ramet insisted that coalition talks with the PPRP had not included any deals for cabinet seats, adding that the Democrats will wait for a reply from the PPRP today. The Democrat Party is ready to call a meeting again to make a decision on whether to join the PPRP camp, he said.

Mr Ramet also said they were ready to talk with other parties which share similar ideologies and would let the Democrats implement their election pledges.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Tuesday that he, as the prime ministerial candidate of the PPRP, will have to check the names of persons nominated by coalition parties for cabinet seats himself and then a meeting will be held to thrash out the details with the parties.

Asked about the Democrat Party's push for constitutional amendments, Gen Prayut said that the conditions had nothing to do with him, but it is incumbent on the next government to meet those conditions.

"When circumstances change, there may be a need to amend legislation," he said.

He also said he knew nothing about the report that the PPRP has given him the authority to decide on whether to keep Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon in the next government.

PPRP secretary-general Sontirat Sontijirawong said PPRP executives will shortly travel to invite the Chartthaipattana Party to join it as a partner in forming the next coalition government.

Mr Sontirat said he is confident the PPRP will be able to work well with the Chartthaipattana Party.

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