House speaker row set to go to the wire

House speaker row set to go to the wire

The Move Forward Party (MFP) and the Pheu Thai Party remained unable to end the deadlock over the House speaker position in their meeting with the other six prospective coalition parties on Sunday, though representatives said they hope to settle the issue on Monday.

The meeting at MFP headquarters was planned to resolve the dispute over the House speaker's seat. The eight allies earlier agreed to support Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat as the new prime minister.

After the meeting, Mr Pita said they had discussed the House speaker issue and the talks were positive.

However, he said, the MFP was still waiting for a definitive answer from Pheu Thai.

"If people are confused, we must apologise. We have a firm intention to form a government and solve people's problems," Mr Pita said.

He declined to comment on the possibility of another candidate for the House speaker's seat. "New speculation is not welcome because it could affect the government formation and confuse people," Mr Pita said.

Earlier, the MFP said it wanted Phitsanulok MP Padipat Suntiphada to be the new House speaker while Pheu Thai stood firm that it should get the seat of the head of the legislative branch.

Mr Pita also refused to comment when reporters asked what would happen if Move Forward and Pheu Thai were unable to eventually reach a compromise.

Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew said after the meeting that the party would consult with members at an internal meeting today in the hope of reaching a resolution on the matter.

"If the outcome is different from people's expectations, it would affect coalition allies and the formation of the government," he said. He hoped the issue would be resolved by noon today.

Asked if it was possible for a party from another bloc to nominate a different House speaker candidate instead of Pheu Thai, Dr Cholnan said: "That is difficult to answer but I am confident that every issue will be resolved by July 4."

Dr Cholnan previously said Move Forward should have 14 ministers' seats -- plus the prime minister's -- and Pheu Thai should have 14 cabinet ministers' posts plus the House speaker's seat.

Wan Muhammad Nor Matha, leader of the Prachachat Party which is one of the eight prospective coalition allies, said on Sunday that he hoped the MFP and Pheu Thai would turn the next 40 hours into the time of "the people's victory" or else "the non-democratic bloc would rise".

Asked if Prachachat, which won nine House seats in the May 14 election, the third largest number after the MFP and Pheu Thai, also wants to have a deputy House speaker position, Mr Wan, a former House speaker, said the party wants to do all it can to help establish ''the people's government''.

He said the party is ready to sacrifice its own interests for the sake of the formation of a new government.

Mr Wan said he could not reveal the content of Sunday's meeting but believed Move Forward and Pheu Thai could reach an agreement.

MFP secretary-general Chaithawat Tulathon said his party would settle the issue with Pheu Thai on Monday before the crucial vote for a new House speaker takes place tomorrow.

Do you like the content of this article?