Move Forward Party (MFP) leader Pita Limjaroenrat has expressed confidence his party, Pheu Thai and their fellow coalition partners will reach the agreements needed to form a new government when they hold talks on Sunday.
Acknowledging that a clear stance is still needed from the Pheu Thai Party, Mr Pita on Saturday voiced his belief that the second largest party in the House of Representatives will not draw out negotiations to form the administration.
The two main coalition parties — Move Forward with 151 seats and Pheu Thai with 141 — have been wrangling over the position of House speaker but time is almost up. Parliament is due to convene on Monday with the vote for speaker scheduled for Tuesday.
Mr Pita affirmed that his party had named its candidate (Phitsanulok MP Padipat Suntiphada) for the speaker’s seat and would stand by its decision.
He declined to comment on possible candidates from Pheu Thai, named by undisclosed sources, asking that the public wait for an official announcement from the party to avoid confusion.
Asked by reporters about speculation concerning a potential political shift, the MFP leader said clarity would be achieved once the vote within the coalition takes place on Sunday.
“The eight parties of the coalition remain unified, and each has only been taking its time to thoroughly consider key decisions,” said Mr Pita.
On Friday, Pheu Thai sources floated the possibility of a new scenario in which their party could form the next government. If Mr Pita fails to secure enough support from senators in the prime ministerial vote, Move Forward would agree to step aside in favour of Pheu Thai.
In return, they said, Pheu Thai would abandon its demand for the House speaker’s position.
Srettha Thavisin, a Pheu Thai Party candidate for prime minister, on Friday reaffirmed his support for Mr Pita’s bid for the premiership and said that priority is for “the democracy side” to stick together and form a new government.
Mr Pita, meanwhile, declined to comment on calls to minimise the political role of outgoing Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, saying instead that the coalition’s transition committee has been preparing plans to deal with various issues such as tourism stimulus.
Gen Prayut on Friday said he would no longer comment about politics, and would focus only on his caretaker role until the new administration is formed.