By Thai Newsroom Reporters
PRIME MINISTER PRAYUT Chan-o-cha and Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan will be more likely to become head of government after the next general election than anyone else as far as unelected senators are concerned, according to a noted academic.
Kasetsart University’s Political Science Association President Thanaporn Sriyakul has forecast the current premier who will contest the nationwide election to retain power under the Ruam Thai Sang Chart tickets and the deputy premier who will vie for prime minister under the Palang Pracharath banners will finally have the relatively large chances of landing themselves the post-election premiership.
However, the political scientist predicted in case that the Palang Pracharath gets more MPs than the Ruam Thai Sang Chart in the general election, Prawit will simply call off his bid for prime minister only to give way for Prayut to prolong his rule for two more years as earlier allowed by court.
“Prawit would like to continue playing the role of Big Brother who is always pleased to give anything that Prayut may want.
“Prawit would finally prefer being a kingmaker, albeit behind the scenes, rather than a prime minister himself,” Thanaporn said.
Though the Ruam Thai Sang Chart is believed to get fewer elected MPs than the Palang Pracharath in the nationwide election, the pro-Prayut party is believed to get no less than 25 MPs as required by law to name him as partisan contestant for prime minister, Thanaporn said.
The Kasetsart academic concluded a majority of the 250 senators, all of whom had been handpicked by the Prayut-led coup junta, will definitely prefer picking Prayut rather than Prawit for prime minister again.
The military-designed constitution of 2017 empowers the 250 unelected senators to vote alongside the 500 elected MPs for a partisan candidate to take the helm of government.
On the other hand, the political scientist forecast, if today’s largest coalition partner Palang Pracharath eventually join hands with today’s largest opposition Pheu Thai to set up a coalition of their own after the general election, Prawit will finally be given the premiership as far as “Pheu Thai Party owner” Thaksin Shinawatra is concerned.
“The Pheu Thai owner would undoubtedly do everything that he possibly could for his own sake since he desperately needed a more secure personal environment to manage to return home.
“The Pheu Thai owner has already put his own future at stake, steering the party on his chartered course and financing their campaign expenditure,” Thanaporn said without mentioning Thaksin by name.
The former premier who has been globetrotting in self-exile overseas since he was deposed in the 2006 coup has repeatedly encouraged the Pheu Thai rank and file to score a landslide victory in the general election so, he said, he could finally return home and literally babysit his seven grandchildren.
The Pheu Thai will need to get an overwhelming majority of MPs not only from their own camp but from others to outvote the 250 senators, most of who will be very unlikely to endorse a Pheu Thai contender for prime minister such as Thaksin’s daughter Paetongtarn Shinawatra whilst Prawit will be far more preferable for the senators’ backing, according to the Kasetsart academic.
Thanaporn said possibilities of a Palang Pracharath/Pheu Thai-led coalition being set up, either with or without the Bhumjaithai and other relatively small parties as partners, could not be ruled out on condition that the pro-Prayut Ruam Thai Sang Chart be kept at bay.
Under guidance and for the sake of Thaksin, the Pheu Thai rank and file will finally endorse the Palang Pracharath boss as prime minister in exchange for their becoming part of a coalition government, Thanaporn said.
Only when the Pheu Thai became a coalition partner could Thaksin finally come back home despite having been earlier sentenced to a dozen years in jail on charges of misconduct which he had allegedly perpetrated during his time in power nearly two decades ago.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, left, and Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, right. Top photo: Thai Rath, Front Page photo: Matichon