PM dismisses coalition government suggestion

Motion draws doubts from political parties

Former Democrat leader Bhichai Rattakul (right) discusses with current party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva at the party's meeting in December 2013. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha poured cold water Monday on a proposal by an ex-Democrat leader that political parties form an alliance with the military to set up a national government.

The proposal was floated by Bhichai Rattakul who said the national administration was a means to national reconciliation and admitted it would be controversial.

Under his proposal, the Democrat, Pheu Thai, and Bhumijaithai parties would join hands with the military in forming a government. He suggested Gen Prayut was in a position to initiate talks.

When asked about Mr Bhichai's idea, the prime minister said it was not the right time to discuss the issue.

"I've no comment. It's not the time to talk about this," the prime minister said.

Mr Bhichai said the political situation was changing and reconciliation was deemed difficult to achieve since former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra's escape last month.

The ex-Democrat leader said a civilian government formed under the new constitution or a military government was unlikely to bring about national unity or tackle economic problems.

"I'm not sure if they will take it. I'm saying this for the sake of reconciliation. It isn't collusion to take power. Who will be the prime minister depends [on their talks]. The person who can initiate this is Gen Prayut. If I knew him personally, I would have told him," said Mr Bhichai.

Meanwhile, two major political parties expressed scepticism about Mr Bhichai's proposal.

Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said a next government should be formed by parties which win the most House seats in a general election and the Senate should refrain from pressuring them.

He was referring to a clause in the charter allowing the appointed 250-member Senate a role in the prime minister's selection.

The charter allows senators to join MPs in proposing a motion to suspend a rule requiring prime ministerial candidates to come from political party lists if a joint MP-Senate session fails to vote for a premier from those lists.

Mr Abhisit said political observers tend to believe there is no way out because they focus on individuals rather than the country's problems, adding there is no guarantee a national government can make conflicts go away.

The Democrat leader also said a major flaw of a national government is a lack of external parties to examine its performance.

"I expect to see things proceed according to the roadmap. The general election must define the country's direction," he said.

We need to put in place mechanisms to solve the conflicts and ensure the parties concerned know their roles."

Former Pheu Thai MP for Ubon Ratchathani Somkid Chuakhong said the regime should abide by the roadmap and let people decide the future.

He said the party will join hands only with the people and it is ready to accept the result of the elections.

Chartpattana Party leader Wannarat Charnnukul, however, seemed to keep the option of a national government open.

He said whether it happens would depend on the political situation and the party is ready provide cooperation to help the country.

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