Two Thai MPs to leave ruling coalition

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People queue to vote at a polling station in Samut Prakan province, on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand, March 17, 2019. Xinhua/Rachen Sageamsak

BANGKOK (Bangkok Post)  – Two of the nine micro-parties with one MP each have announced they will pull out of the coalition and independently serve as “people’s MPs” in Parliament.

Mongkolkit Suksintaranont, leader of the Thai Civilized Party, said on Saturday he and Pichet Sathirachawal, leader of Prachatham Thai, another micro-party, had agreed to serve as people’s MPs, meaning they would not side with either the government or the opposition but will vote at their own discretion.

“We also agree not to accept any political positions offered by Palang Pracharath,” he added, referring to the core party of the coalition.

“When we joined the coalition, we thought cooperation would be based on sincerity. But we have faced problems performing our duties as MPs from the start.”

He said the small parties were being sidelined in Parliament in favour of the larger parties in the ruling coalition.

“Our urgent motions were screened by the big party and we couldn’t discuss policies with the government.”

Mr Mongkolkit said he would not go back on his word, apparently in response to criticism he had done so before. During his election campaigns, he told voters he would not support the continuation of power by the regime but later joined the government.

“Being people’s MPs means we’ll vote independently, not that we’ll join the seven opposition parties.

“We stand ready to support the government on good policies and will oppose it if we think they are wrong.”

If the two MPs withdrew from the coalition, the government will have 252 votes against 246 of the Opposition.

Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, deputy spokesman of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), said of the split: “I believe both [Mr Mongkolkit and Me Pichet] still have good relations with the government. Like boyfriend and girlfriend, misunderstandings happen.

“When we make up, they love each other just like before. if we have the chance to talk and make up, [we will] go back to loving each other like before.”

He added that Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin and the government’s coordinator of small parties Capt Thamanat Prompow would talk to the pair.

Capt Thamanat also insisted yesterday the pair could be persuaded to remain with the government.

A PPRP source, who asked not to be named, said key members of the party had agreed to allocate about six political positions, such as spots on the House committee and ministerial assistant roles, to the small parties.

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