Democrat party joins coalition government to end political uncertainty 

The Democrat party has decided, by a majority vote, to join a Palang Pracharat-led coalition government in order to put an end to political uncertainty and to “switch off” the continuing power of the junta, said party leader Jurin Laksanavisit at a news conference Tuesday night.

The NCPO will disband automatically once a new government takes office.

After a fierce debate among the 39 executive committee members and 53 MPs, who were split between those who want to join the coalition and those who want to form an independent opposition, the party took a secret ballot in which 61 voted in favor of joining the coalition and 16 opposed, with two abstentions and one invalid vote.

Former party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva spent about an hour trying to convince the meeting to opt for forming an independent opposition.

However, when it came to the vote, the idea was defeated in favor of joining the coalition.

The Democrat party’s final decision means that their 53 MPs will drop the plan to nominate Abhisit for the prime minister’s post and will vote for General Prayut instead.

The other potential coalition partner, the Bhumjaithai party, which has been waiting for the Democrat party’s decision, will follow in the Democrats’ footsteps.

Democrat party leader Jurin Laksanavisit told a news conference after the meeting that the Palang Pracharat party had accepted the Democrat’s pre-conditions relating to poverty eradication policy, price guarantees for farm produce, constitutional amendments and good governance.

Mr. Abhisit and other party members who disagree with the party’s decision were not present during the news conference. Jurin said, however, that all the party’s 53 MPs must abide by the party’s decision.

An informed party source said that the Palang Pracharat agreed Monday night to honor its earlier promise to give the Democrat party eight cabinet portfolios, including one deputy prime minister post, the agriculture, commerce, social development and human security ministries and four deputy ministers at interior, education, public health and transport.

Immediately after the meeting today, one party member, former election commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn, quit the party citing ideological differences.

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