6 June 2024

The Move Forward party may consider sacrificing some cabinet seats as a “trade-off” for the House speakership, which has become a bone of contention between it and its political ally the Pheu Thai party, according to party sources.

The sources insist that, as the party commands the highest number of MPs in the House, Move Forward is entitled to the House speakership.

The fight for this top legislative post has exposed a serious schism between the two major political parties, which are in the process of forming a post-election coalition with six smaller parties.

The disagreement is believed to have forced the cancellation of a meeting, which Move Forward and Pheu Thai had scheduled for Wednesday, amid rumours that the latter is negotiating a backdoor deal with some of the parties in the outgoing coalition government.  

Political observers believe, however, that Pheu Thai is probably using the House speakership as a bargaining chip for more cabinet seats. The party, which commands the second highest number of MPs, has insisted on securing the speakership and 14 cabinet posts, as part of the power-sharing in the new administration.

“We may consider giving up a cabinet seat or two in exchange for the House speakership,” said one of the sources in Move Forward which, on Wednesday, unveiled its speakership candidate, Padipat Suntiphada.

A former veterinarian, Padipat, 42, is an MP representing Phitsanuloke and has served as chairman of the House committee on politics, media and public participation.  

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Padipat said he believes there is still time for Move Forward and Pheu Thai to reach an agreement on the speakership.

Move Forward has scheduled a meeting of the eight parties forming the coalition for Sunday, the day before HM the King is scheduled to preside over the opening session of Parliament and two days before the House is to convene to elect the House speaker.