Prawit plugs reconciliation to end divisions

Prawit plugs reconciliation to end divisions

PPRP leader works 'behind the scenes'

National reconciliation is the only solution to Thailand's deep political polarisation, especially during the run-up to the May 14 general election, said Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon in his capacity as leader of the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP).

In a new Facebook post, Gen Prawit said he genuinely believes the conservatives and the liberals in the country can live peacefully together. He added that he has been working behind the scenes to facilitate this.

"And now that mudslinging in ongoing election campaigns is intensifying, I am concerned this tendency is likely to widen the nation's political divisions even further," he said.

"At the moment, certain political parties have gone too far in portraying their opponents as 'enemies', who they aim to force to leave the country."

He said he was not stressing the importance of building national reconciliation because he aims to make it his selling point in the election campaign but because he truly believes in it.

"Not many know that I have been working behind the scenes pushing for the conservative and liberal sides in the House to reconcile their differences," said Gen Prawit.

In the conflict between these two sides over the past constitutional amendments regarding the election system, for instance, Gen Prawit said he was the key man who lobbied hard for the two sides to mend fences.

Even Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had opposed a proposal by liberals in the House to amend the charter to use a dual-ballot method and that the list-MP calculation method should revert to using 100 as the divisor, said Gen Prawit.

"I was the one who stood up against such a potential abuse of power [to manipulate the election] and insisted it was time to handle politics in a way that is totally in line with democratic principles," he said.

Gen Prawit said he had to handle a great deal of pressure not only in the coalition government but also within the PPRP. He said many MPs in the conservative camp didn't approve of the proposed changes because they feared losing the upcoming election as they believed the new method would provide a large opposition party such as the Pheu Thai Party with a better chance of winning.

That was an uphill struggle which Gen Prawit said he had eventually solved thanks to his determination, experience and good relationships with all sides.

"Politics can never progress if all sides still cannot get over an old conflict," he said.

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