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Bangkok Post
Bangkok Post

Pheu Thai denies Bhumjaithai deal talk

Sutin: Respect people's mandate

The Pheu Thai Party has dismissed media speculation that it plans to enter talks with Bhumjaithai, the third biggest party, to try and form a coalition government together.

Deputy Pheu Thai leader Sutin Klungsang insisted there was no substance to such speculation, adding that the party made this very clear in a post-election statement.

"If we had such a plan and acted on it, there's no way people could accept it," he said.

Pheu Thai would like to work with a party people accepted as having the mandate to lead the next government, said Mr Sutin referring to the Move Forward Party (MFP), which emerged from Sunday's election as the biggest party. MFP has approached Pheu Thai to be a potential coalition partner.

Mr Sutin said he believed the new government would take shape within the next 30 days and become fully functional in about two months.

He also downplayed a remark made by Senator Wanchai Sornsiri that the biggest party might eventually end up on the opposition benches if it fails to gather enough support from other parties to form a government.

Anutin Charnvirakul

Admitting such a scenario is technically possible for a coalition supporting the biggest party to fall short, but in a democracy, both the MPs and senators should respect the people's mandate in electing a prime minister for parliament, Mr Sutin said. "We should learn from the previous election," he added.

In the 2019 election, Pheu Thai won the most MP seats only to see the Palang Pracharath Party, the second-biggest party, success- fully cobble together enough support from MPs from various parties to establish a coalition government with Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha returning as prime minister. However, Mr Sutin pointed out that it would be "another story" if the biggest party tried to put together a government but still could not garner sufficient backing from other parties.

Meanwhile, Bhumjaithai issued a statement on Tuesday pledging to preserve the party's onus by letting the biggest party have a free hand to build a coalition government.

The statement also denied media reports that party leader Anutin Charnvirakul had given an interview to reporters regarding the government's formation.

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