Thai opposition party urges others to reject coalition offer
BANGKOK: Thailand's main opposition Pheu Thai Party yesterday urged other parties that contested a March election to reject a coalition offer by a pro-army party seeking to keep the junta chief as prime minister.
The appeal came as pro-junta Palang Pracharat Party's bid to cement a coalition government faltered when at least two of its presumed allies - the pro-establishment Democrat Party and Chart Thai Pattana - expressed new reservations and conditions.
Negotiations are going on two months after the election, held nearly five years after then army chief Prayut Chan-o-cha seized power from a Pheu Thai government in 2014.
Pheu Thai, which leads the seven-party Democratic Front alliance that has accused the junta of manipulating the election, seized on the reluctance and urged unity against military dominance.
"It is not too late for any party to change its mind," said Pheu Thai secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai.
No one party won a majority in the House of Representatives, but Palang Pracharat has an advantage under junta-written rules that require the 250-seat Upper House Senate appointed by the junta to vote along with the 500-seat Lower House for prime minister.
That effectively gives Palang Pracharat a 250-seat advantage in the race to the 376 votes - a majority of members of both houses - it needs.
The Democrats have said amending the post-coup Constitution would be a condition for joining any Palang Pracharat government, a Democrat spokesman said.
A Chart Thai Pattana member said Palang Pracharat has not yet agreed to his party's unspecified conditions. - REUTERS
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