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Bangkok Post
Bangkok Post

UTN, Bhumjaithai against forming minority govt

Key figures of eight coalition allies join hands in their meeting on July 2. Pita Limjaroenrat, leader of the Move Forward Party (MFP), is third from right. (Photo supplied)

The United Thai Nation (UTN) and Bhumjaithai parties on Monday voiced opposition to any attempts to form a minority government as the vote to select the country's next prime minister approaches.

UTN leader Pirapan Salirathavibhaga said via Facebook that the party would not nominate Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha or himself for the PM post at the prime ministerial election in parliament on Thursday because it does not support the establishment of a minority government.

He said the party would not vote for a prime minister candidate from a party whose policies run counter to the constitution, especially when that party seeks to amend the lese majeste law and the three main pillars of the country (nation, religion, and monarchy).

Mr Pirapan said he assigned UTN secretary-general Akanat Promphan to propose this stance for the party's consideration and pass it into a resolution when it meets on Tuesday.

The meeting is set to determine how the party will vote in Thursday's prime ministerial election. 

"It's clear and straightforward and should leave no room for any interpretation. Our duty is to protect the country from harm," he said.

Also, Bhumjaithai leader Anutin Charnvirakul said the party has consistently made its stance clear that it will not support a minority government and amendments to the lese majeste law.

He declined to comment on MFP leader Pita Limjaroenrat's campaign to drum up support for his bid to become the prime minister, seen by the MFP's critics as pressuring the Senate ahead of Thursday's vote.

Mr Pita, the MFP's sole prime minister candidate, commands 312 votes from the MFP-led alliance and is still shy of 64 votes to be elected prime minister. He has appealed to the Senate to help make up for the shortfall, as MPs from parties in the opposite wing are not likely to break rank and vote for him.  

There are doubts he will be able to get the votes he needs in the first round.

Mr Anutin said the House speaker would have to decide what to do next in case Mr Pita could not muster enough support after two rounds of voting.

He said he was not intimidated by the prospect of a "witch hunt" after the prime minister vote, noting that MPs and senators should be free to exercise their judgement.

Asked if Bhumjaithai would join the coalition if Pheu Thai, the second largest party, took the lead in coalition formation, Mr Anutin said it would depend on policies and guidelines, adding that now was not the time to consider this.

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