Suradat rejects push for PM candidate

Suradat rejects push for PM candidate

Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan is still a favourite choice for prime minister for northeastern MPs of the Pheu Thai Party, but she says no. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)
Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan is still a favourite choice for prime minister for northeastern MPs of the Pheu Thai Party, but she says no. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

Pheu Thai de-facto leader Sudarat Keyuraphan on Thursday rejected a call by northeastern MPs in the party to push for her to be the prime minister candidate of the anti-military alliance.

Khunying Sudarat said she is honouring her words announced on her Facebook account in May that she would not accept any political positions.

She said she could help Pheu Thai and its anti-regime alliance in other capacities.

Her statement followed a move by northeastern MPs inside the party who insisted on proposing her to compete for the top administrative job.

Paijit Srivorakhan, a Pheu Thai MP for Nakhon Phanom, said on Thursday the northeastern MPs considered Khunying Sudarat best suited to be the prime minister candidate for the party.

Pheu Thai won most of its seats in the Northeast in the March 24 election. The veteran politician credited her campaigns for maintaining Pheu Thai's status as the most popular political party among northeastern voters.

The position of the northeastern group inside Pheu Thai was disclosed after a party source said on Wednesday Pheu Thai and its seven-party bloc favoured former transport minister Chadchart Sittipunt to be their top pick, followed by Chaikasem Nitisiri.

They met on Monday and Tuesday to search for a candidate for the bloc and Khunying Suradat confirmed in one of the meetings her decision to opt out of the selection.

She posted a Facebook message on May 18 her decision not to take any political position so other parties could join the anti-regime alliance. But Mr Paijit said on Thursday the situation had changed since her posted.

The Pheu Thai-led coalition of seven parties started out with a majority vote of 253 MPs in the House shortly after the March 24 election results were unofficially announced. The number later dwindled due to the calculation method of party-list MPs chosen by the Election Commission, which effectively shaved seven seats off its ally Future Forward Party (FFP).

The subsequent disqualification of one of its Chiang Mai MPs further reduced the number before another seat was added following the FFP's victory in a Chiang Mai constituency in Sunday’s by-election.

The bloc now musters 246 MPs, or 245 votes because FFP leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit was suspended from MP duties, not enough to form a government unless some of the undecided parties join it.

The situation calls for the alliance to act as one and vote for a prime ministerial candidate approved by all seven parties if the group is to succeed in its goal of ending the continuation of power by the regime. Allowing the candidates of the seven parties in the alliance to compete among themselves will undercut the votes and the bloc's chance of victory.

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