Thailand’s anti-junta party ‘confident’ it will form government

The Earthtimes

Posted : Fri, 04 Jan 2008 08:29:00 GMT

Bangkok – Thailand’s most popular political party said it was confident Friday it would form the next government in the face of challenges by the kingdom’s election monitor and the supreme court. The People Power Party, which won 233 out of 480 parliamentary seats in a December 23 national election, is poised to form a multi-party coalition, said the secretary-general of the People Power Party, Surapon Suebwonglee.

The nominal leader of the PPP, Samak Sundaravej, has claimed that the military junta that overthrew then prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in September 2006 is attempting to sabotage its chances of forming a government.

The PPP is widely considered a proxy for the exiled Thaksin, who is loathed by large sections of the military and the Thai elite.

The Election Commission suspended 65 of the winning PPP candidates on suspicion of cheating late Thursday, leaving only 168 able to start work in Parliament immediately. Another 18 winners from other parties were suspended.

“The party is not worrying about the large number of results being investigated by the Election Commission because it is confident that its MPs-elect did not involve (themselves) in any wrongdoing to be penalized by red cards,” Surapon told The Nation online website.

The fewer seats it has the smaller its chances of forming a viable coalition in the 480-member Parliament.

An even greater threat may be the suit going to the supreme court on January 15th accusing the PPP of being a vehicle for Thaksin, who was banned by a constitutional court from politics for five years, along with 110 other senior leaders in his old party, the Thai Rak Thai (Thais Love Thais).

Two Democrat MPs have said it will be easy to prove that the PPP is merely a proxy for the banned Thaksin and therefore should be banned from Parliament.

PPP leader Samak has claimed that the military and its allies are pressuring the commission to eject PPP candidates.

Suthep implied that a conspiracy was at work, saying Friday that he was “surprised” that the number of suspended PPP candidates, 65, was so close to predications made by senior members of the rival Democrat Party.

Although Thaksin is hated by much of the Bangkok elite and the military for his financial conflicts of interest and arrogant ways, he remains extremely popular with much of the rural poor for his village handouts, cheap loans and a national health care scheme.

The announcement of the candidate suspensions appeared to end a brief lull in post-election political maneuvering that has followed the death on Wednesday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s sister Princess Galyani Vadhana.


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