Friday, December 5, 2008

Chuan says "No;" Snoh: Why not me?

Chuan Leekpai, former premier and chief adviser of the opposition Democrat Party, wasted no time in turning down any offer to make him the next prime minister. "It's our party's principle to let the party leader assume the premiership if we form the core of any government," the senior politician said this moring. (Click on the video to listen to his interview).

Chances of the Democrats leading the new government are slim. But under the current fluid situation, anything is possible. The ruling People's Power Party (PPP) which has been disbanded by order of the Constitutional Court may be split. One major faction led by Thaksin Shinawatr's erstwhile right-hand man Newin Chidchob has made it known that they would reject Thaksin's nominees on grounds that such a choice would plunge the country back to turmoil again.

A spokesman of Newin's group (claiming control over 37 MPs) even suggested Chuan should take over the premiership to put the country back on the healing process. The statement suggests that Newin's faction may consider breaking away from Thaksin's new party, Peau Thai.

The five small parties that were part of the PPP-led coalition met last night and, according to one of the leaders, Snoh Tianthong, leader of Pracharaj, an agreement was also reached to the effect that they would not support any nominee from the Peau Thai Party, in effect snubbing any choice imposed by Thaksin.

Snoh said the five coalition partners, while opposing any move to join hands with the opposition Democrat Party to set up the next administration, concluded that the next premier should come from the smaller parties.

Snoh and Gen Chettha Thanajaro, leader of Ruamjaithai Chartpattana, have been mentioned as possible nominations.

Thaksin, giving instructions to his party from abroad, won't budge. But his clout is dwindling in the wake of the growing uncertainty hovering over his own future and the obvious polarisation of the domestic political line-up.

The next few days will witness intense behind-the-scenes negotiations. Nothing -- including back-stabbing, betrayals, line-up switchover -- is to be ruled out.

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