Palang Pracharat leader insists talks on cabinet seat sharing are not over yet

(Photo) Palang Pracharat Facebook page

While the Democrats have repeatedly insisted that the issue of the sharing of cabinet seats has already been settled, and warned of consequences if the promises are not kept, Palang Pracharat party leader Uttama Savanaya announced today that the issue is still alive and talks must continue between the parties concerned.

“Talks must continue under the principle that, as we are all aboard the same boat, (we) must share a common objective to drive the country forward,” Uttama was quoted to have told the media, after the party’s executive meeting today to discuss the government formation.

The committee designated Uttama and party secretary-general Sontirat Sontijirawong to hold talks with the party’s coalition partners regarding cabinet seat allocation.  Uttama was also assigned to head a working group to draft the government’s policies, which are to be presented to parliament by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on a date yet to be fixed.

Mr. Uttama said he and Mr. Sontirat had been holding initial talks with the Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties, their two main coalition partners, until the election of the Prime Minister and that “it is about time for additional talks on the issue of suitability and balance, so as to ensure the government’s stability and strength”.

Asked to comment on a speculation that Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak may opt out of the new government, if the Palang Pracharat party does not control the key economic ministries, Mr. Uttama said he was not aware of such speculation.

He maintained that it was normal practice for Prime Minister Prayut to personally screen all potential ministers from all the coalition parties, to make sure they are qualified and suitable for the posts.

He said that the issue must be settled as quickly as possible, while admitting that he could not say for sure who would get which portfolios.

Regarding the constitutional amendments issue, which was a pre-condition stipulated by the Democrats prior to joining the coalition, he noted that the issue is important, complicated and cannot be tackled by any single party, adding that the legislature must be consulted and the Democrats have yet to outline which issues they want to amend.

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