05/27/2019, 13.46
THAILAND
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Negotiations ongoing as junta seeks government allies

The 24 March elections left the country split. The coalition that backs Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha opposes an alliance of seven pro-democracy parties. Three parties are undecided: Democrat Party, Bhumjaithai Party and Chart Pattana. The pro-military party today met representatives of the first two.

Bangkok (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The leaders of two Thai political parties are meeting with representatives of the ruling pro-military party to discuss a possible deal to keep Prayuth Chan-o-cha (pictured), a former general, as prime minister.

The talks are taking place more than two months after the controversial 24 March general election. The vote marked Thailand’s return to democracy, almost five years after the military seized power, but left the country divided.

A deal involving the three parties threatens to end the hopes of a government formed by a coalition of seven pro-democracy parties.

This morning, the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) officially invited the Democratic Party (DP) and the Bhumjaithai Party (BJT) to join the coalition that supports Prayuth Chan-o-cha.

PPRP leader Uttama Savanayana went to DP headquarters in Bangkok in the late morning, where he met DP Secretary-General Chalermchai Sri-on.

At the end of the meeting, the latter declared that the DP needs more time to decide whether to accept the offer. Some DP officials do not want to support a government led by Prayuth Chan-o-cha.

Despite Chalermchai Sri-on’s statements, Uttama said he was confident of forming a government and is preparing to meet the BJT leaders in the afternoon.

In recent days, the PPRP managed to convince the DP and the BJT to support its nominations for House Speaker and deputies, albeit with a narrow majority.

If the three parties - DP, BJT and Chart Pattana Party - join the PPRP-led, the new government will have 253 votes in the 500-member lower house.

Prayuth Chan-o-cha will also need the support of the Senate, but the 250 senators are all appointed by the military and will support his attempt to form a government.

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