Key coalition figures to meet over S44 loss
Ruling bloc remains solid, Anutin says
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will attend a meeting aimed at strengthening ties among key figures of the coalition parties on Tuesday, Digital Economy and Society Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta said on Monday.
Mr Buddhipongse, an executive of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), said that Gen Prayut will have dinner with key figures from the coalition at the Rajpruek Club on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road.
The meeting is the brainchild of Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, the PPRP's chief strategist, who had assigned Energy Minister and PPRP secretary-general Sontirat Sontijirawong to invite coalition partners to join, Mr Buddhipongse said.
"As the government's leader, the prime minister will meet for talks with key coalition figures, after having worked together for some time. The key coalition figures have accepted the invitations," Mr Buddhipongse said.
A PPRP source had previously said that the meeting was aimed to patch up differences among coalition parties after the government suffered a defeat in its bid to prevent the formation of a panel to scrutinise the orders issued under Section 44 last Wednesday.
The defeat was the result of six Democrat Party MPs refusing to toe the coalition line and voting in favour of the opposition's motion -- proposed by Future Forward Party(FFP) secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul -- to set up a panel to study the impact of orders issued under Section 44.
The legislation gave Gen Prayut special executive powers as leader of the post-coup National Council for Peace and Order regime.
Separately, Gen Prayut yesterday described that law-making is "not easy" as it requires the cooperation of many stakeholders within the government.
"These days, it may be a bit difficult to push legislation through because it has to be passed by parliament. But that won't be a problem if all involved understand what we are working together to achieve," Gen Prayut said.
"We can't afford to merely engage in political games. National interests must come first."
Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, leader of the Bhumjaithai Party, said that he will attend the meeting, before adding that the coalition remains solid.
Meanwhile, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalermchai Sri-on of the Democrat Party insisted that the Democrats are not in disagreement with other coalition parties.
Last Wednesday, the House of Representatives was thrown into turmoil after both sides were locked in conflict over voting for a panel to study the effects of orders issued under Section 44.
The opposition edged the ruling coalition camp by four votes -- 234-230 -- on the motion, with two abstentions and one absence.
The government whip, however, invoked parliament regulation No.85 to call for a new vote, prompting protest from the opposition.