The leader of the Chartthaipattana Party on Sunday told the Pheu Thai Party (PTP) that is taking the lead in forming the next government that it will not vote for a prime ministerial candidate from Pheu Thai if its coalition includes a party that wants to change the lese majeste (royal insult) law.
Chartthaipattana Party leader Varawut Silpa-archa informed a press conference of his party's standpoint after meeting key Pheu Thai figures at PTP headquarters on Sunday. He apparently referred to the election-winning Move Forward Party (MFP) which has stood firm on changing the lese majeste law or Section 112 of the Criminal Code.
The MFP won 151 House seats in the May 14 general election. It teamed up with Pheu Thai, which came second with 141 House seats, and six other parties to attempt the formation of the next government. Their coalition had 312 of the 500 House seats.
But Move Forward failed to win a majority vote from the elected House and the military-appointed Senate for the premiership of its sole prime ministerial candidate and leader Pita Limjaroenrat. MFP recently decided to let Pheu Thai nominate its prime ministerial candidate and take the lead in forming the next government.
Pheu Thai has discussed forming a government with parties outside its eight-party coalition alliance, meeting the Bhumjaithai, United Thai Nation and Chartpattanakla parties. Bhumjaithai and United Thai Nation insisted that they will not support Pheu Thai's government formation if its coalition includes MFP.
Pheu Thai then proceeded to hold talks with Chartthaipattana, which holds 10 House seats, on Sunday.
After the meeting, Mr Varawut said his party would vote for a prime ministerial candidate from Pheu Thai as long as no party in its alliance intended to amend the lese majeste law.
"If any political party shares the same thinking with Chartthaipattana, to leave the (lese majeste) law intact and have positive attitudes and respect for the (royal) institution, then we can work together. If there is any political party with a different standpoint, we will work separately," Mr Varawut said.
"If Pheu Thai has a similar direction with Chartthaipattana about the institution and Section 112 and if there is a prime ministerial candidate from Pheu Thai, we, Chartthaipattana, will be willing to give support. But Pheu Thai must not have any party with a different concept from ours," Mr Varawut said.
On the same occasion, Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew said the eight-party coalition alliance assigned Pheu Thai to gather support for government formation with other political parties, and was seeking their opinions.
Dr Cholnan denied that Pheu Thai was inviting other parties outside its alliance to join its coalition and would exclude MFP from the alliance, sending the election-winning party to the opposition.