Mingkwan denies NEP rift over vote

Mingkwan denies NEP rift over vote

Former New Economics Party leader Mingkwan Saengsuwan, centre
Former New Economics Party leader Mingkwan Saengsuwan, centre

Former New Economics Party (NEP) leader Mingkwan Saengsuwan on Monday slammed MPs from his party who defied the opposition in a crucial House meeting last week, putting his reputation at stake.

Mr Mingkwan came under the spotlight after rumours spread that the NEP was approached to join the coalition government. The reports intensified when four of the party's six MPs stayed behind to make up a quorum for the House meeting last Wednesday.

The former NEP leader said he stood by his political stance and stressed that the party MPs should take responsibility for what they did.

"There were no discussions about the previous House meeting, but I ended up being accused of being behind the incident. I have my reputation to protect, so let me say this: the party MPs have to take responsibility for what they do. I have nothing to do with them," he said.

Mr Mingkwan insisted there was no rift within the party.

Turmoil was first triggered by a vote late last month on a motion to scrutinise Section 44 of the interim charter. Six Democrat MPs rebelled to hand the coalition a shock defeat by 234-230 votes. In last Wednesday's revote, 10 opposition MPs remained to make up a quorum and the coalition prevailed with 244 votes against. The revote sparked speculation of a cabinet reshuffle to punish Democrats and reward opposition rebels.

Democrat spokesman Ramet Rattanachaweng on Monday shrugged off rumours the party could be kicked out of the coalition. "As a government coalition party, our objective is to work for the people," he said.

Democrat MP Thepthai Senpong dismissed speculation of a cabinet reshuffle, saying it was intended to pressure his party.

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