Dems leader has doubts govt will survive

Dems leader has doubts govt will survive

Democrat leader Jurin Laksana
Democrat leader Jurin Laksana

Democrat leader Jurin Laksana­ said on Sunday he was unsure if the government would complete its four-year term after surviving the third censure debate.

Uncertainty hung over the coalition government's future despite Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha staving off a threat from renegade MPs in the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) and small coalition partners.

"I can't say if the government will see out its term. But whatever happens, it should comply with the constitution. If we adhere to it, politics can move forward," Mr Jurin said.

He dismissed as normal the varying numbers of votes of confidence which each minister received, saying it was rare for the targeted ministers to obtain the same number of votes.

Gen Prayut received the second fewest votes of confidence and the most no-confidence votes among six targeted ministers in the Saturday vote.

The Democrat leader said despite the differences in the number of votes, the gap was considered insignificant and showed unity within the coalition government.

He declined to discuss alleged undercurrents in the PPRP and said there was no signal about a cabinet reshuffle from the prime minister.

Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said the outcome of the censure debate vote reflected the House's confidence in the premier and the government.

He said the no-confidence motion was part of a checks-and-balance mechanism and the prime minister respected the MPs' decision.

Meanwhile, the Pheu Thai Party said the government still owed an explanation to the public on several issues even though it survived the censure debate.

Among them were the actual purchase prices of Sinovac vaccine, the procurement of the first submarine from China and release of para rubber stocks, said Arunee Kasayanont, the party's spokeswoman.

She said even though Gen Prayut survived the censure debate, he would be fiercely scrutinised by the public and coalition partners. The lower-than-expected votes of confidence he received indicated eroding confidence.

She also said the Pheu Thai Party's ethics committee would meet today to discuss actions against MPs who failed to toe the party line and deliberately spoke ill of the party.

The party was likely to consider expelling those found to have violated the party's regulations, she added.

Seven Pheu Thai MPs broke ranks with the party in the Saturday vote by abstaining.

Move Forward Party MP for Bangkok Jirawat Aranyakanont admitted that he and the party had conflicting views on several issues and he intended to find a new political home when fresh elections were due.

One difference was the proposed amendment to Section 112, known as the lese majeste law, he said, adding he did not support the bill because he disagreed with the content and how the law should be amended.

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