Saturday, June 25, 2011

Why hasn't anybody called Banharn?

Banharn Silpa-archa, the de facto owner of Chat Thai Pattana Party, is waiting anxiously for phone calls from Suthep Thuagsuban, the Democrat Party's secretary general -- and probably from Thaksin Shinawatra from Dubai.

But so far, the two have kept strangely quiet.

Banharn's party could prove to be crucial in the formation of the next government after next Sunday' election.

Even if Pheu Thai wins about 250 seats, slightly over the simple majority, it will still have to embrace one of the middle-sized parties, to form the coalition.

As Banharn said on television last evening: "The next government needs about 300 seats in the House to be stable. Cabinet members can't vote in the House. So, 250 seats won't be enough," he said.

Of course, Banharn is hoping his party could join either Pheu Thai or the Democrat party to form the next government. There is little doubt that he adheres strictly to the dictum that you don't have permanent friends or enemies in politics.

Asked whether Thaksin has called him, Banharn said: "No, in fact we haven't talked for two years or so now..."

What about Suthep? "No, he hasn't called either. If he doesn't, I will call him in the next few days."

Banharn said his party would get "at least 30 seats" in the election.

With Pheu Thai having declared that it won't consider Newin Chidchob's Bhumjaithai Party as a coalition partner no matter what, Banharn emerges as the most important "third party" to enable either Pheu Thai or the Democrats to win the battle to set up the next government.

But he is feeling lonely. I have no doubt that after he sent out that message in his television show last evening, Banharn's phone would be buzzing over the weekend.

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