Jump to content

Puea Thai Party faces mini revolt


Recommended Posts

Bangkok Post

2 Jun 2010



The opposition Puea Thai Party is facing a potential crisis amid strong conjecture a number of MPs could abandon it when the censure debate vote is taken today.


Political observers believe the party, which has 189 seats in the lower house, could be weakened as a large group of members - among them Saraburi's Worapon Adireksan and Jumpot Boonyai of Sakon Nakhon - have shown a strong desire to defect to the Bhumjaithai Party.


They say today's vote will provide the chance for those who are dissatisfied with Puea Thai to signal their intentions.


About 25 opposition MPs who were either absent from the vote on the government's 2011 Budget Bill last week or voted for it will be closely watched today.


Puea Thai MP for Nan Cholanan Srikaeo said yesterday that if they were absent from the vote of no-confidence they would be regarded as having acted inappropriately and would be required to give an explanation to party executives.


Puea Thai MPs will hold a meeting at parliament at 8am today to ensure every member votes against the government when the House resumes an hour later.


Any MPs who are absent or vote in favour of the government as they did last week will be regarded as renegades ready to defect from Puea Thai to other political parties, said Chiya Promma, a Puea Thai MP for Nong Bua Lam Phu.


If they signal they prefer to stand as individuals or for another party, Puea Thai would punish them by not fielding them in future elections, he said.


Puea Thai list MP Sunai Jullpongsathon said defecting from one party to another was normal for politicians. But how many would leave Puea Thai remained to be seen, he said.


Puea Thai MP for Ayutthaya Witthaya Buranasiri, the opposition chief whip, believed another three members would turn their backs on the party in the future, in addition to Mr Jumpot and Mr Worapon.


The coalition parties also have problems. Four Puea Pandin Party members, all representing Surin, have said they would not vote for Bhumjaithai ministers.


The opposition filed a censure motion against Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and five cabinet ministers. Two of them - Interior Minister Chavarat Charnvirakul and Deputy Interior Minister Boonjong Wongtrairat - are Bhumjaithai members.


Mr Chavarat and Mr Boonjong were unable to defend themselves against corruption allegations during the debate and should not have the support of Puea Pandin, MP Maliwan Thanyasakulkit said.


"It should not be seen as a split in the government. It is the right of members of parliament to put a priority on corruption charges over anything else," Mrs Maliwan said.


Puea Pandin and Bhumjaithai are political rivals in the Northeast.


In a censure debate, the parliament gives MPs a free vote, meaning they do not have to abide by their party's position.


[color:red]Political observers say they have not been impressed by the censure debate.


Somchai Srisuthiyakorn, of the political science faculty at Thammasat University, said Puea Thai MPs focused too heavily on the government's response to the red shirt protests at Ratchaprasong intersection even though the violence had yet to be investigated.


The excessive amount of time devoted to the protests could confuse the public. Puea Thai MPs instead should have spent some time debating the performance of the government, he said.


Mr Somchai criticised the government and opposition for disputing points and wasting time during the debate. He said he was unhappy with the quality of MPs.


Chaichana Inkhawat, a political scientist at Ramkhamhaeng University, said the opposition spent way too much time in the censure debate on defending the red shirt protesters. He said it seemed they were more concerned about representing the red shirt protesters and former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra than their constituents.


Surachai Sirikrai, another political scientist at Thammasat University, said the censure debate allowed the public to hear both sides of the story.


But he condemned opposition MPs for using inappropriate language and said they did not deserve to be elected representatives of the people.[/color]





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Coalition rivals face off

3 Jun 2010




Differences among the government coalition partners have blown up in the government's face after Puea Pandin Party MPs withheld their vote of confidence in two ministers from the Bhumjaithai Party.


Bhumjaithai lashed out at Puea Pandin following the no-confidence debate yesterday accusing it of "back-stabbing" and demanding that it leave the coalition.


Puea Pandin MPs either cast votes of no confidence or abstained from voting yesterday for Interior Minister Chavarat Charnvirakul, the Bhumjaithai leader, and Transport Minister Sohpon Zarum.


Newin Chidchob, Bhumjaithai's de facto leader, was particularly upset by the perceived slight. A government source said the party powerbroker told Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Deputy Premier Suthep Thaugsuban, the government manager, that Puea Pandin's actions were unacceptable.


The row between the two partners has simmered for some time with Bhumjaithai said to have the upper hand.


The parties have locked horns over local development budget allocations and the annual transfer of state officials.


There is also an unsettled score involving political wrangling in the lower Northeast between Boonjong Wongtrairat and Mr Newin of Bhumjaithai, and Pinij Charusombat and Pairote Suwunchwee of Puea Pandin.


Mr Newin is also believed to hold a personal grudge against Kasem Rungthanakiat, who turned to Mr Pairote's party instead of joining Bhumjaithai when the People Power Party was dissolved.


Mr Kasem's move to Puea Pandin quashed Mr Newin's hopes of consolidating his political stronghold in the lower Northeast.


Mr Newin has reportedly had budgets earmarked for Surin slashed, especially Transport Ministry projects.


A source at Puea Pandin said the censure debate had allowed the party to get back at Bhumjaithai and teach it a lesson.


After the vote, Deputy Transport Minister Suchart Chokechaiwattanakorn of Bhumjaithai called on the prime minister to choose between Puea Pandin's 14 seats and his party's 46 seats.


"It is impossible for both parties to continue working together," Mr Suchart said.


"By next week this matter should be settled."


Leading Bhumjaithai MP Prachak Klaewklaharn said he did not expect any decision by Puea Pandin to leave the coalition to lead to an early dissolution of the House.


"But if we have to wear masks and keep knives behind our backs, there is no point in staying together," he said.


Puea Pandin spokesman Alongkot Maneekas played down Bhumjaithai's strong reaction to his party's action, saying fences could be mended.


"I think the two ministers with irregular votes should review their roles and adjust the way they work," he said.


"Our votes reflect the ministers' performance. But it doesn't mean the ministers have committed a serious flaw."


Mr Alongkot expressed confidence that Mr Abhisit would stick by Puea Pandin, as the alternative was to run the government with a slim majority.


Mr Abhisit said he believed the government would survive the rift and Mr Suthep should have it fixed within a couple of days. He also signalled the possibility of a cabinet shake-up.


"A reshuffle would allow us to solve the problems of the country," he said.






Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...