Some senators will not vote for Paetongtarn "Ung-Ing" Shinawatra of the Pheu Thai Party to become the next prime minister, even if the party wins the next election by a landslide, said Senator Wanchai Sornsiri.
Mr Wanchai posted a message on his Facebook page yesterday saying: "250 MPs or senators, who will make a landslide win?" He was referring to the vote for a prime minister in parliament.
Ms Paetongtarn, the youngest daughter of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and Pheu Thai's chief adviser on public participation and innovation, vowed to lead the main opposition party to a landslide victory in the next general election, scheduled to take place on May 7 this year.
According to Mr Wanchai, any party with more than half of the House seats should be the core party to form a government, and both MPs and senators had agreed to this principle.
The selection of the prime minister was important as the person must have leadership skills and gain acceptance from parliament and the entire nation, he added.
"The prime minister's post is not a toy for anyone or any clan," Mr Wanchai wrote.
"The prime minister is a symbol of pride for the entire nation, and it's not right to make anyone prime minister like what happened in the past."
Mr Wanchai shrugged off claims by Pheu Thai that it will achieve a landslide win in the election as announced at party campaign meetings by Ms Paetongtarn.
"I've heard that Pheu Thai has vowed to win a landslide, and it will select Ung-Ing as its prime minister. This is Pheu Thai's matter, but my group and my allies will not vote for her.
"So, if Ung-Ing wants to be the prime minister, Pheu Thai must garner 376 votes in favour of her.
"If the party is unable to achieve 376 votes, Ung-Ing's path to be the next prime minister will grow dim," warned the senator.
His comment was not aimed to be insulting, but to highlight the reality of politics, he wrote.
On Pheu Thai's campaign to win more than 250 House seats in the election, Mr Wanchai wrote: "Be careful, 250 senators might hit you back with a landslide."
The constitution gives the Senate and MPs a role in co-electing a prime minister in parliament.
After the 2019 general election, the coup-appointed 250 senators overwhelmingly voted for Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, who was nominated by the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) to be prime minister.
Gen Prayut is now a prime ministerial candidate of the United Thai Nation Party, while the PPRP has decided to nominate its party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon as a candidate for prime minister.
A total of 500 House seats will be up for grabs -- 400 constituency MPs and 100 list MPs, under the reintroduced dual-ballot polling system, in the next election.
If Ms Paetongtarn is to be voted in as prime minister without the need for the Senate's support, Pheu Thai must win at least 376 House seats -- more than half of the combined 750 members of both chambers.
Meanwhile, Supachai Jaisamut, a list MP and registrar of the Bhumjaithai Party, said yesterday the party's executive committee has concluded that party leader Anutin Charnvirakul will be nominated as the sole candidate for prime minister in the next election.
The party is confident Mr Anutin has what it takes to serve as prime minister as shown by his success in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Supachai said.
During a pre-election campaign in Kanchanaburi's Muang district on Friday, Mr Anutin vowed to push for his party's policies if Bhumjaithai becomes the core party to form a government after the next polls.
They include a three-year debt moratorium, giving monthly allowances of 2,000 baht to village health volunteers, and pushing for a bill on cannabis, he said.