Saturday, December 6, 2008

The road ahead is bumpy for Abhisit

The Democrats pulled off a surprise today when they managed to get representatives from five smaller parties -- previously partners of the just dissolved People's Power Party (PPP) -- to join hands in forming the next government, with Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva as the new prime minister.

Democrat Secretary General Suthep Thuaksuban claimed at the press conference that he had garnered 260 MPs to back his boss as the next premier. But the Peau Thai Party -- successor to PPP -- also held an urgent meeting yesterday to declare that they will press on with their attempt to form the next government too.

That means a new battle will erupt in the House of Representatives to fight for the right to lead the next government. Peau Thai's ultimate weapon, if it loses out in the parliamentary war, is the constitutional prerogatives of the acting premier, Chaovarat Chanvirakul, to dissolve the House to call a new election.

Even if Abhisit's chances of becoming prime minister have brightened for the first time in the past week since Somchai Wongsawat was ousted as premier when his PPP party was ordered disbanded by the Constitutional Court, the road ahead is still full of roadblocks. The small parties remain divided and last-minute lobbying by Peau Thai Party may still turn the tide against him.

Peau Thai's main weakness is that it could not produce any credible and respectable candidates for the premiership. The names of Chalerm Yoobamrung and Mingkwan Saengsuwan have been greeted with deep skepticism. Peau Thai Party, facing a severe challenge from the Democrats today, took a step backwards for the first time today by suggesting that the smaller parties could nominate their own candidates to lead the new government.

In fact, the Peau Thai's leadership even offered Sanan Kachornprasart, deputy leader of the Chat Thai Party (also disbanded together with PPP), the premiership if his party was to remain with the previous line-up.

Sanan appeared side by side with the Democrat Party's Suthep in the press conference to snub the Peau Thai's overture.

The political see-saw continues unabated.

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