The leader of the Pheu Thai Party says the party is placing more weight on its members’ views than those of coalition allies, and most Pheu Thai members want the party to have the House speaker’s post.
However, Cholnan Srikaew said on Thursday that Pheu Thai had yet to officially conclude its stance on which party should have the position.
Pheu Thai has 141 House seats while the election-winning Move Forward Party has 151. Their other six coalition allies have a total of 22 seats combined.
Dr Cholnan said that most Pheu Thai members want the speaker’s post to belong to Pheu Thai.
“Pheu Thai cares about the feelings of all parties,” he said. “Number one is the people who hand their power to us. Number two is the members and MPs of the party, and the last one is coalition parties.”
Still, Pheu Thai members and MPs have yet to reach a consensus on the speaker issue and the party is seriously trying to prevent the issue from getting out of control, he conceded.
Asked if Pheu Thai members could nominate Pheu Thai list MP Suchart Tancharoen, a seasoned veteran who is familiar with the job, Dr Cholnan said members had the right to make their proposal.
Mr Suchart was the first deputy House speaker after the previous election in 2019.
The Pheu Thai leader dismissed a proposal from Wan Muhammad Nor Matha, leader of the coalition ally Prachachat Party, that Prachachat be given the second deputy’s seat because it had the third most MPs among coalition allies.
Given hat Pheu Thai had 141 seats and Prachachat just 9, Dr Cholnan said he believed his party should have both deputy positions, if it does not get the main job.
Earlier Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, head of the Thai Sang Thai Party, and Mr Wan Nor warned that the eight coalition allies cannot form their government unless the speaker issue is resolved.
In any case, Dr Cholnan said he still did not think the coalition would fail, and that Pheu Thai and Move Forward would resolve the issue before the House has its first meeting to vote for the speaker, expected to take place on or around July 6.
The speaker will preside over a joint sitting of the House and the Senate, expected to convene on July 13, to select a new prime minister.
Veteran politician and Pheu Thai list MP Adisorn Piangket said almost 100% of Pheu Thai members want their party to have the speaker’s seat but do not want the matter to obstruct the foundation of the new government.
“If any issue is unresolved, traditionally it must be decided by a (House) meeting. The House does not belong to any single party. No parties have the majority of House seats,” he said.
Mr Adisorn said he wanted Pheu Thai and Move Forward to reach an agreement so that they could form the government with Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat as the prime minister.