Officials prepare the auditorium at TOT Plc on Chaeng Watthana Road for the first sessions of the Senate and House of Representatives on Friday and Saturday. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)
The pro-regime Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) is stepping up its efforts to win over the Bhumjaithai and Democrat parties to ensure a PPRP-led coalition government materialises before parliament convenes on Friday.
The PPRP has already sent its leader and secretary-general to court the two parties, viewed as the pivotal players, to back its efforts to form a coalition government.
The combined number of 103 MPs -- 52 from the Democrat Party and 51 from the Bhumjaithai Party -- can tip the scales of power in favour of the PPRP-led alliance.
However, the Democrat Party has not yet committed itself to supporting the PPRP-led alliance.
PPRP spokesman Kobsak Pootrakool said on Tuesday that the party executive board has assigned PPRP leader Uttama Savanayana and party secretary-general Sontirat Sontijirawong to negotiate with other parties that are potential PPRP allies in joining a coalition government.
"Negotiations are under way. A conclusion will be reached soon. There will be good news," Mr Kobsak said.
Asked about the stance of the Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties which have not yet committed their support to the PPRP, Mr Kobsak said the PPRP is waiting for the decisions of the two parties and is ready to negotiate with them.
Asked if the two parties are pressuring the PPRP, Mr Kobsak said parties are trying to negotiate for what is best for them, especially when it comes to making a deal to join the PPRP-led alliance.
Mr Kobsak also said parliament will open on Friday, which will kickstart the process of choosing a prime minister.
Their Majesties the King and Queen will preside over the opening of parliament at the Vithes Samosorn Hall at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday, following a royal decree announcing that parliament will convene today.
After parliament has officially convened, the Senate will hold a meeting to choose the Senate speaker and deputies while the House of Representatives will select the House speaker and deputies the following day at the TOT Plc Co auditorium on Chaeng Watthana Road.
Under Section 121 of the constitution, parliament must convene its first meeting within 15 days of at least 95% of the poll results being announced. The EC endorsed 498 out of a total of 500 MPs on May 8.
When the House and Senate speakers are royally endorsed, the House speaker, who serves as parliament president, will decide when a joint sitting of MPs and senators will be held to choose the prime minister.
Speaking after a meeting of Democrat Party MPs, party spokesman Ramet Rattanachaweng said the meeting concluded that the party's executive board will seek information today on other parties' stances on the formation of a coalition government.
He said the party will also hold a joint meeting of MPs and executives tomorrow to decide on whether to join any political alliance.
Chuan Leekpai, chief of the Democrat Party's advisory panel, said there were reports of outsiders trying to interfere in the party's affairs by using money to buy Democrat members.
"We have to find ways to prevent any outside interference from influencing the party's decision on whether to join a government," Mr Chuan said.
Commenting on political parties' moves to form a coalition government, Gen Prayut said on Tuesday that it should be left to the parities to discuss the issue and that he did not want anything to do with it.
"Parties are still holding talks. Don't get me involved in it," the prime minister said.
However, he said that if there is too long a delay in the formation of a government, this will likely have an adverse impact on foreign investors' confidence.
When asked about a coalition government formed under the PPRP, which could comprise up to 20 parties, including small ones which were given one party-list seat each, Gen Prayut said that positives can be found in such a multi-party government as each coalition party can implement their election pledges.