MFP Denies Exclusion Rumours From Pheu Thai-Led Coalition

The Move Forward Party (MFP) has brushed off rumours about its potential exclusion from a new government to be headed by the Pheu Thai Party, emphasizing that the unity among the eight potential coalition parties continues to be solid.

Sources indicate a new potential government structure has surfaced, which includes the original coalition partners and extends an invitation to the Bhumjaithai and Chartthaipattana parties.

However, the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) and the United Thai Nation Party (UTN) continue to be left out.

In the proposed situation, Srettha Thavisin, Pheu Thai’s PM nominee, is expected to be presented for the impending vote in parliament on Friday.

With backing from 71 members of parliament from Bhumjaithai, 10 from Chartthaipattana, and 312 from the primary eight-party group, Mr. Srettha could secure 393 votes, significantly surpassing the number required for him to be elected as the next prime minister.

As per the constitution, a PM candidate must have the support of at least half of the 750 parliament members from both the lower and upper houses, or a total of 376 votes.

Nevertheless, analysts predict that if Bhumjaithai, currently in conflict with the MFP, joined the coalition, the MFP might choose to split from the bloc, positioning itself as the opposition, but would still vote for Pheu Thai’s PM candidate.

In the past, the MFP has lodged accusations of corruption against Bhumjaithai cabinet ministers during a no-confidence debate.

In response, Bhumjaithai has declared its unwillingness to join any government involving the MFP, pointing to MFP’s attempt to modify Section 112 of the Criminal Code, also known as the lese majeste law.

However, if MFP withdraws from the coalition, Pheu Thai may revisit inviting the PPRP, as well as the Democrat Party and the UTN into the coalition, suggest analysts.

However, Rangsiman Rome, an MFP list MP and spokesperson, trivialized a report suggesting that Pheu Thai would let Bhumjaithai lead the formation of a government without MFP, with UTN and PPRP invited.

Mr. Rangsiman argued that Bhumjaithai didn’t secure the highest number of seats in parliament, and thus lacked the rightful authority to establish a government.

“If Bhumjathai can form a government, this will deviate from normal circumstances…If we discussed politics on the basis of the people’s wishes, Bhumjaithai would not have a chance [of forming a government],” he remarked.

In a Facebook post, Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn, an MFP list MP, also expressed his disbelief in the rumour that Pheu Thai would kick MFP out of the coalition, arguing it was designed to undermine the trust and unity among the eight parties.

“I don’t believe that Pheu Thai would push the MFP into the opposition block, coupled with the UTN and the PPRP.”

“It’s improbable they would build a coalition with Bhumjaithai, the Democrats, Prachachart, Chartthaipattana, and other parties to form a government backed by a collective 262 members of parliament, just for senatorial support.”

In the meantime, Pheu Thai secretary-general Prasert Chantararuangthong announced on Sunday that the coalition partners will deliberate their position before the PM vote on Friday.

Wisut Chai-narun, a Pheu Thai MP for Phayao, believes Mr. Srettha will likely be nominated for the vote and receive enough support to become the prime minister.

Parliament president Wan Muhamad Noor Matha previously stated that the parliament would meet on August 4, but whether the new vote for a prime minister would happen on that day will be decided by the Constitutional Court a day earlier.

The court will decide if it will consider a petition regarding the rejected renomination of MFP leader Pita Limjaroenrat as prime minister. If the petition is accepted, the vote will be postponed until the court has made its ruling, Mr. Wan added.