Friday, June 18, 2010

The '3 Ps' who may decide Abhisit govt's fate

These three "Ps" in the "Phya Nak" faction of Pheau Paendin Party may hold the key to PM Abhisit's coalition government's survival.

From left, Pinit Charusombat, Pairoj Suwannachawee, and Preecha Laohapongchana jointly have 18 MPs under their control. If they join forces to cast their votes one way or the other, the government's do-or-die chances will sway accordingly.

The next test will come when the second reading of the 2011 Budget comes up for a vote in the House.

The three factions within Pheau Paendin Party that haven't joined the reshuffled Cabinet this time officially say they won't rock the boat. But nobody can be sure what will happen from now until the day the Budget comes up for the crucial vote.

According to some published reports, the coalition government's total votes now stand at 260 in the House while the opposition (Pheau Thai plus Pracharaj) has 197.The difference of 63 votes should give the government a comfortable margin. But that's not what most observers think would be the case.

For the Budget to pass in the second reading, the government needs a simple majority -- that means 238 out of 474. But there is a constitutional stipulation that Cabinet members who are also MPs can't vote. Officially, there are 24 who fall into this category.

That means Abhisit could, if things don't go the way he wants, depend on a very slim majority of one or two votes. And that is probably too precarious for him to sit still.

Don't be surprised, therefore, if you detect some heavy lobbying from both the government and opposition from now on!