PM rules out vision speech

PM rules out vision speech

Prayut says 'no need' prior to premier vote

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in a press conference at Government House last week. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in a press conference at Government House last week. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday brushed off calls for prime ministerial candidates to be present and outline their visions for the country when parliament convenes on Wednesday to choose the next premier.

After noting that prime ministerial candidates are not required by law to make their pitches before the joint sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate, Gen Prayut said he has discussed his visions for the last five years.

"Isn't that enough?" he said when asked if he would answer calls by academics and politicians for the candidates to put forward their plans for the country ahead of the crucial vote.

Gen Prayut is the sole prime ministerial candidate of the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP).

Among those who want to see the candidates discuss their visions is Prachachat Party leader Wan Muhammad Nor Matha who has pledged support for the Pheu Thai-led alliance which has yet to reveal who it will nominate for premier.

He said that even though there are no legal requirements for them to attend and discuss their plans for the country, there are no rules forbidding them doing so.

Senate Speaker Pornpetch Wichitcholchai said on Monday that Wednesday's meeting may take longer than usual as MPs and senators will take part in a debate prior to the vote. He said they can also debate Gen Prayut's qualifications.

House Speaker Chuan Leekpai said on Monday he would not set a time limit for the debate as some MPs want to discuss the selection of senators too. He also said the prime ministerial candidates may speak to the House before the vote if they wish.

The PPRP is also expected to announce its alliance with five other parties at a Bangkok hotel on Tuesday.

According to a source, the five parties are the Action Coalition for Thailand Party (ACT), the Chartpattana Party, the People's Reform Party, the Rak Pheunpa Praphet Thai Party (formerly known as the Thai Forest Land Reclamation Party) and the Thai Local Power Party. They have a combined total of 14 MPs.

The move follows the PPRP's extending formal invitations to the Bhumjaithai Party, the Democrat Party and the Chartthaipattana Party to join its alliance.

The Democrat Party will on Tuesday decide at a joint meeting between its party executives and MPs whether or not to accept the invitation. The party has 53 House seats which would give the PPRP a big boost.

On the table for the Democrats are seven cabinet portfolios and the party is reportedly targeting three ministerial posts at the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry the Commerce Ministry, and the Social Development and Human Security Ministry.

However, the PPRP has some policy concerns about the Democrats taking the helm of the Commerce Ministry and wants to give the party a deputy commerce ministerial post focusing on the domestic market instead.

A source close to the matter said the PPRP believes its prospective coalition partner will be better able to implement its policy if it is allocated a deputy post with a focus on the Department of Internal Trade.

The PPRP has reportedly offered the education minister post to the Democrats as it believes the position should work well with the party's policy to develop human resources and tackle poverty, said the source.

The source said the Democrats have submitted three preconditions to the PPRP. These are that it must consider amending the charter, implement the party's farm price policy and allocate cabinet posts that allow the party to realise its election policy platforms.

Democrat secretary-general Chalermchai Sri-on confirmed on Monday the party will definitely make a decision regarding its stance on a coalition with the PPRP on Tuesday.

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