Thanathorn vows to form government

Leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit has said his Future Forward Party will be the core to form the next government with him as PM if he succeeds, minutes after the Election Commission asked the Constitutional Court to disqualify him as MP.

“We believe only Future Forward could heal wounds and conflicts and bring parties together to share a common stance and ideology,” Mr Thanathorn said in a statement on his party’s Facebook.

“This means sending soldiers back to the barracks and amending the constitution to pave the way for a democratic election. Only we can fulfil this mission.”

While the statement does not name any other party, it is common knowledge there is no love lost between the Democrat and Pheu Thai parties, given the deep-rooted animosity supporters of the two parties felt for each other over the past 20 years of polarising conflicts.

“Under the prevailing uncertainty, the one who benefits the most is Palang Pracharath. To dispel such uncertainty and desperation, we’ll be the core leader of the government. And if FFP can secure enough votes to form it, Thanathorn will be the prime minister to stop the continuation of power by the NCPO.

“As no one is willing to act as the core leader to stop the power succession by the NCPO, FFP volunteers to do it.

"It’s time we stood up and demanded the right thing straightforwardly. We have to deliver what we promise to the people the best we could. 

Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, chief strategist of Pheu Thai, told party members at a seminar on Thursday she would not accept any politicial position and would gladly sacrifice to make sure democracy had a chance.

On Mr Thanathorn's declaration, Khunying Sudarat said all parties in the anti-military alliance had already discussed it, implying Mr Thanathorn had acted with their blessing.

Half an hour earlier, the Election Commission issued a statement it had asked the Constitutional Court to disqualify Mr Thanathorn for owning shares in media companies when he applied as MP, a prohibition by law.

Mr Thanathorn’s argument was that the EC’s no longer had the power to seek his disqualification because by law it can deal with the issue of qualifications only after the application and before the poll, not after it, and that window had passed.

If he survives the court's ruling, Mr Thanathorn will likely face an uphill task given the show of support by several parties so far and the likelihoods that the 250 appointed senators would vote for Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha as prime minister.

The pro-regime front has gathered 137 MPs to date, compared to 245 of the Mr Thanathorn's coalition. The Democrats, with 52 MPs, Bhumjaithai (51), Chartthaipattana (10) and Chartpattana (3), totalling 116, remain undecided. 

To get a prime minister, a majority vote of both houses is needed, or 376 of 700. Given all 250 senators vote for Gen Prayut, he will easily sail through with 387 votes. But Gen Prayut will find it hard to pass key bills going forward if his alliance controls only 137 MPs in the House.

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