Parties jostle over cabinet posts
MFP 'eyes FM role for Pita, key ministries'
published : 20 May 2023 at 04:00
newspaper section: News
writer: Post Reporters
The Move Forward Party (MFP) is eyeing key cabinet posts dealing with finance, foreign affairs, defence and energy while Pheu Thai will be offered economic portfolios such as the transport, commerce, and industry ministries, sources said.
The sources said the MFP has informed Pheu Thai that it will take charge of ministries handling security affairs to push for military reform and decentralisation, and oversee the development of human resources, which are all part of its election platform.
The sources said the MFP also wants its leader, Pita Limjaroenrat, who is tipped to become the next prime minister, to concurrently serve as foreign affairs minister as he will represent Thailand on the global stage after the coalition government is formed.
Apart from the prime ministerial post that Mr Pita is expected to take, there are a total of 35 cabinet posts to be allocated among coalition partners.
On Thursday, the MFP announced the formation of an eight-party coalition and the setting up of working groups to lobby senators for support and thrash out policy platforms, with a memorandum of understanding to be disclosed on Monday.
Mr Pita said on Thursday that all the coalition parties agreed to support him as the next prime minister as the MFP clinched the most seats in last Sunday's election.
The eight parties are the MFP, Pheu Thai, Prachachart, Thai Sang Thai, Seri Ruam Thai, Fair, Palang Sangkhom Mai and Pheu Thai Ruam Phalang.
With the latest inclusion of the Chartpattanakla Party and the New Party, the MFP-led bloc has now swelled to ten parties, pulling in 316 House seats.
Deputy MFP leader Phicharn Chaowapatanawong said on Friday that Chartpattanakla, which garnered two House seats, and the New Party, which secured one, agreed to join the coalition.
The MFP would get 17 cabinet posts, while Pheu Thai, which won the second-largest number of House seats, would get 15-16, the sources said.
Prachachart and Thai Sang Thai would each get one cabinet post, while a group of small parties would have a total quota of just one cabinet post, with Seri Ruam Thai expected to clinch it, the sources said.
The sources said the MFP wants to oversee "A-list" ministries, including the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Defence Ministry, Interior Ministry, Finance Ministry, Education Ministry, Energy Ministry, Labour Ministry and Justice Ministry.
Meanwhile, Pheu Thai will be offered the commerce, transport, agriculture, digital economy and society, tourism and industry portfolios.
The sources said the MFP would drop Pheu Thai's 10,000-baht digital money scheme as it would require a budget of up to 500 billion baht.
The MFP said it would spend that money to finance its election pledges, such as increasing the monthly allowance for elderly people to 3,000 baht, the sources said.
The sources went on to claim that Pheu Thai was not happy with the MFP assuming control of most of the A-list cabinet portfolios.
The party thought it should have the right to choose the ministerial positions it desires to carry out its policy pledges, they added.
However, MFP secretary-general Chaithawat Tulathon on Friday dismissed as untrue media reports that his party has been allocated A-list ministries, saying the issue has not yet been finalised.
Mr Chaithawat, speaking in his capacity as coordinator for the formation of a new government, denied the reports that A-list ministerial quotas had already been allocated, with MFP list-MP Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn taking the helm of the Interior Ministry.
"Such reports are untrue. When I heard about the reports, I felt shocked and stunned," said the key MPF member.
"It is still in the process of thrashing out political platforms with a memorandum of understanding," he added.
Mr Chaithawat urged caution as the allocation of ministries has not yet been finalised.
Speculation about ministerial quotas threatens to affect the negotiations among coalition partners and may cause misunderstandings among people appointed to each party's negotiation team, he said.
He said the media had gone too far as the issue has not yet been concluded.
The coalition will work out an MoU which will map out guidelines for their collaboration. Details of that will be disclosed on May 22, the day earmarked for all coalition partners to sign it, Mr Chaithawat said.