By Jintamas Saksornchai and Asaree Thaitrakulpanich
BANGKOK — The Pheu Thai Party said Wednesday it would form a coalition with six other parties to become the next government of Thailand.
Pheu Thai jumped ahead of pro-junta Phalang Pracharath Party to announce its coalition bid with the Future Forward, Seri Ruam Thai, Prachachart, Puea Chat, New Economics and Thai People Power parties, saying they have reached enough seats to hold a majority in the lower house.
“Pheu Thai has been firm, since our first day of campaigning until election day, that we want to stop the NCPO’s power,” Pheu Thai prime minister candidate Sudarat Keyuraphan said. “We want to carry out the intentions of the people, since we have gotten the majority. We have at least 255 seats, although the numbers are not final yet.”
Leaders of the coalition parties including Future Forward’s Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, Seri Ruam Thai’s Sereepisut Temeeyavets and Prachachart’s Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, were also present at the news conference held Wednesday morning. New Economics’ Mingkwan Sangsuwan was absent but has said he would later hold a separate press conference.
Bhumtham Vecchayachai of Pheu Thai noted the New Economics Party’s absence but said that the party has committed to joining with them.
Bhumjaithai and Democrat parties, which came in fourth and fifth respectively in the election and therefore may heavily tip the scales of power, are keeping their allegiances under wraps. Democrat’s Korn Chatikavanij however has said it would be “impossible” for him to join Pheu Thai.
Sudarat today slammed the election irregularities which she said were caused by “secret power.” Yesterday, she criticized the pro-junta party which nominated Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha to be the next prime minister for trying to form a coalition although it didn’t win the most seats in Sunday’s election.
Thanathorn, who has endorsed Pheu Thai’s legitimacy in forming a government, said he and the others would work to end the power of the military government, also known as the National Council of Peace and Order or NCPO.
“Me and other political parties here will work together to end the NCPO’s power, which we believe is the desire of the majority,” he said. “The most suitable prime minister for Thailand today is khun ying Sudarat.”
Thanathorn formerly sat on the board of Matichon, which owns Khaosod English.
Sereepisut called for others who haven’t made a decision to join their cause.
“I want to invite all parties, big and small, to join us,” he said. “Otherwise you will be colluding in them continuing their rule.”
He also called for Prayuth to resign.
“Prayuth, sacrifice yourself. Resign now,” he said. “The media, don’t you guys agree? If you agree, put your hands together,” he said to applause.
Prachachart leader Wan Muhamad censured the junta for deteriorating the country’s economic performance.
“The economy has been dismal since the junta came into power,” he said. “Which investor wants to take a risk with a government held by a thread?”
Songkram Kitlertphairote of the Puea Chat, a network party of Pheu Thai, called on the Election Commission to act transparently.
“This is the first page of history. If you do well, then this will impact favorably upon your family and Thailand,” Songkram said. “Citizens have already raised questions about your conduct.”
Even the small party Thai People Power Party, which won one seat, joined and called out to other small parties and parties on the fence to join the coalition.
“We were watching TV. We had 103,000 votes when they suddenly dropped to 75,000. I wonder where our votes went,” party leader Nikom Boonwiset said. “We are a small party. Don’t let our votes disappear.”
He said that some small parties were thinking of joining with Phalang Pracharath. “Some parties think they will get more power if they go to the other side. This is how small parties think,” he said.
The Phalang Pracharath has claimed its rights to form a government as it won the highest number of votes. Its leaders said earlier this week they have already started discussing a coalition with other parties, though they did not identify any by name.
As the party leaders and MPs were touring parts of Bangkok this morning to thank their supporters, Uttama Savanayana declined to comment when reporters asked him about Pheu Thai’s coalition pact.
Additional reporting Chayanit Itthipongmaetee and Teeranai Charuvastra