Thai party set for transition - Pita says MFP to hold talks with partners amid Cabinet uncertainty

ELECTION winner Move Forward Party (MFP) has set up a transition team with its coalition partners to facilitate the handover from the previous government, even as negotiations over key Cabinet roles continue.

The eight-party bloc, which collectively supports MFP leader Pita Limjaroenrat (pic) for prime minister, has also established several working groups to tackle urgent issues during the transition period, including high energy prices, the unrest in the deep South and environmental problems.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday after a coalition meeting, Pita said: “The objective of today’s meeting is to make sure we have a roadmap until the day I become prime minister.

“During this transition period, many people have been demanding answers, so we hope that by consolidating and setting up working committees, we can provide some answers.”

Who gets the role of House Speaker of Parliament is yet to be determined, after a public row last week between the MFP and coalition ally Pheu Thai, with each insisting on the post.

The tussle over the post of Speaker, who presides over Parliament and sets meeting agendas, fuelled speculation that the coalition could collapse and highlighted the fragility of the alliance.

MFP, which won 151 seats at the May 14 election, is in the process of establishing a 312-member coalition with Pheu Thai, which got 141 seats, and six other allied parties with a combined 20 seats, to form the government.

The bloc had earlier this month signed a memorandum of understanding that pledged to reform the military, police and civil service, rewrite the Constitution, relist cannabis as a narcotic meant only for medical use, and recognise same-sex marriages.

The Election Commission is still yet to certify the election results.

Even with the support of an alliance with a majority of seats in the Lower House, securing the top job is not a sure thing for Pita.

The MFP’s 312-seat coalition must gather support from at least 64 more votes from either the junta-appointed 250-member Senate or MPs from parties outside the coalition.

The MFP said it currently has the backing of nearly 20 senators. — The Straits Times/ANN

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