Pheu Thai denies Prime Minister pick plan

Seriruamthai Party leader Pol Gen Sereepisuth Temeeyaves, right, shakes hand with Pheu Thai key figure Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan when they registered as party list candidates at the government complex in Bangkok in February. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

BANGKOK, May 29, 2019, Bangkok Post. Pheu Thai Party secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai on Tuesday denied reports that its political alliance plans to nominate Seriruamthai Party leader Pol Gen Sereepisuth Temeeyaves as prime minister, reported the Bangkok Post.

Mr Phumtham said the seven parties in its bloc were discussing who they would put forth as the group’s prime ministerial candidate. The law states only Pheu Thai and Future Forward are qualified to nominate candidates.

He was referring to a legal requirement in which only a political party which has at least 25 House seats can nominate a prime minister for a joint sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate to vote on.

Mr Phumtham said the alliance would have to determine if it would nominate FFP leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit as its prime ministerial candidate, noting that Mr Thanathorn should be qualified to vie for the post even though he is suspended from duty by a Constitutional Court order.

The court last week asked Mr Thanathorn to stop performing his MP duties until it reaches a ruling on an alleged breach of media shareholding rules.

The prime ministerial vote has yet to be scheduled as the appointments of the House speaker and the Senate speaker are pending royal endorsement.

Asked about “renegade politicians or political cobras” who reportedly emerged in the Pheu Thai-led alliance after the camp was defeated in the House speaker vote, Mr Phumtham said it would not be easy to identify who broke ranks with their parties.

Ladawan Wongsriwong, Pheu Thai’s spokeswoman, said the party would call a meeting of MPs ahead of the prime ministerial vote, a date for which has not been set, and temporary whips would be appointed to coordinate with the six other parties.

Mr Thanathorn admitted on Tuesday his chances of becoming premier were decreasing.

A Pheu Thai source said the party is prepared to petition the House to examine if the ballots cast by MPs during the House speaker vote were made in secret as required by the rules.

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