Impatient Pheu Thai warns Pita, eyes top job

Impatient Pheu Thai warns Pita, eyes top job

Pheu Thai deputy leader Phumtham Wechayachai, centre, arrives for talks with potential coalition parties at a restaurant in Bangkok on May 17. (File photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Pheu Thai deputy leader Phumtham Wechayachai, centre, arrives for talks with potential coalition parties at a restaurant in Bangkok on May 17. (File photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Economic problems cannot wait for the Move Forward Party to keep nominating its leader Pita Limjaroenrat as prime minister while the Pheu Thai Party has three prime ministerial candidates ready for the job, Pheu Thai deputy leader Phumtham Wechayachai said on Monday.

Mr Phumtham said Mr Pita made his ascension to the prime ministership more difficult when he announced his intention to amend the constitution to remove the appointed senators' right to participate in the vote for prime minister along with the elected members of the House of Representatives. 

Of the 249 current senators, only 13 voted to support for Mr Pita for the premiership on July 13.

Mr Phumtham said that Mr Pita should not indefinitely continue the MFP's campaign to have him elected prime minister and to revoke senators' right to vote for a prime minister. If it fails twice to get him elected, that would allow Pheu Thai to take the lead in the formation of the new government.

The recent commitment by Mr Pita to amend Section 272 of the constitution on the rights of senators was intended as a direction to Pheu Thai to wait, Mr Phumtham said.

"The goal of the eight political parties is to speed up the formation of the new government," Mr Phumtham said, referring to the eight party alliance that includes MFP and Pheu Thai.

Ending senators' right to vote for the prime minister was not in the memorandum of understanding approved by the eight parties, the deputy Pheu Thai leader said.

He warned that if the eight allies cannot reach an agreement on the issue of the prime minister, other parties may form a minority government. Other parties had 188 votes and could win the support of the 249 senators, giving them a majority vote from both chambers, Mr Phumtham said.

"We still want to maintain the eight coalition alliance but there must be a clear answer rather than continuing the voting (for prime minister), without a way out for the country," Mr Phumtham said.

"We cannot wait until next year because national problems are now very serious. Do not worry about  Pheu Thai's candidates. We have three candidates. When things are clear, we can make a nomination right away," he said.

Pheu Thai's candidates for the top job are Paetongtarn Shinawatra, Srettha Thavisin and Chaikasem Nitisiri.

Asked to comment on a senator's promise to vote for a Pheu Thai candidate if MFP is excluded from the coalition, Mr Phumtham said that was another factor for consideration.

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