By Thai Newsroom Reporters
PHEU THAI LEADER Chonlanan Srikaew today (July 14) confirmed he will still name Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat for prime minister again next Wednesday.
Following Pita’s failure to get adequate support for elected premiership yesterday, the Move Forward leader will be named and voted for prime minister for a second time next Wednesday as scheduled by House Speaker Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, according to the Pheu Thai leader.
During a joint House/Senate meeting, Pita got 324 yea votes from 311 Move Forward-led coalition MPs and 13 senators with 51 votes short of a minimum of 375 to take the helm of government as required by law.
Nonetheless, Chonlanan expressed concern over the likelihood of Palang Pracharath leader Prawit Wongsuwan being named and successfully voted for prime minister in rivalry against Pita during next Wednesday’s joint House/Senate session.
Though the anti-Pita bloc of parties only has 188 MPs on their side, most of the total 249 senators may opt for Prawit in lieu of Pita, the Pheu Thai leader commented.
However, the Pheu Thai under de facto party boss/deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been more or less speculated to switch sides from the Move Forward-led coalition to the Prawit-led bloc if Pita has failed twice to be voted prime minister.
Thaksin who has desperately strived to return home after 17 years of self-exile overseas was invariably suspected of having already concluded a “secret deal” with Prawit via some go-betweens though the two of them may not have met each other in person over the last decade. The “secret deal” allegedly refers to the Pheu Thai eventually departing from the Move Forward-led coalition to the pro-Prawit bloc to turn it around from a minority government to a majority one.
Meanwhile, Move Forward secretary-general Chaithawat Tulathon alleged that “old-time powers that be” and certain big business tycoons did not want Pita to run the country and stood behind the concerted bashing of him by the senators during yesterday’s roll-call voting for prime minister.
Chaithawat did not name names but commented that some of the unelected lawmakers did either avoid the joint House/Senate meeting or abstain from voting albeit attending it whilst others cast nay votes against Pita.
Pita has earlier said he is not giving up on his sustained bid for elected premiership despite yesterday’s defeat and that his partisan colleagues are looking to tweak their “strategies” to better deal with next Wednesday’s second round of his being named and voted for head of government.
Pita said he and his colleagues are yet to find out what may have prompted as many as 33 senators to be absent from yesterday’s joint House/Senate meeting since many of them could probably otherwise have cast yea votes for him.
Chaithawat maintained that most of the lawmakers who cast nay votes or abstained from voting may not have seriously taken the Move Forward campaign policy to amend the lese majeste law, better known as Section 112, in the first place.
Those senators would still either cast nay votes against Pita or abstain from voting regardless of the contentious lese majeste law amendment bid as far as they practically remain under control of the “old-time powers that be” and big business tycoons, according to the Move Forward secretary-general.
Top and Front Page: Pheu Thai leader Chonlanan Srikaew with Move Forward party leader Pita Limjaroenrat recently. Both photos: Matichon
Insert: Pheu Thai leader Chonlanan Srikaew talking to reporters today. Photo: Thai Rath