Three-party bloc will form new Thai gov’t


BANGKOK, AFP

Thailand’s prime minister-in-waiting Thaksin Shinawatra said Tuesday, he expected to invite two parties into his ruling coalition to give his new administration a firm majority in parliament.

But he said he could not unveil the alliance until official poll results are released on Saturday, and the outcome of re-votes in graft-tainted elections are known a week later.

“I think it’s likely that the coalition will comprise three parties so that we have enough seats in the House,” said the leader of the populist Thai Rak Thai party, naming the number of partners for the first time.

“The face of the new government should be known within this month, but we have to wait for a clear-cut situation to emerge.”

According to unofficial results, Thai Rak Thai secured an unprecedented simple majority in the Jan. 6, polls with about 257 MPs elected to the 500-seat House of Representatives.

But Thaksin is aiming to select coalition partners that will give his new government a 320 seat presence, and is believed to be picking them according to their numbers, as much as their willingness to toe the party line.

A majority that size would protect the new premier from no-confidence votes but is modest enough to alleviate concerns his runaway victory will make him a “parliamentary dictator” in a country bruised by past military dictatorships.

Election officials said Monday that they expect the official results to be released on Saturday, ending a chaotic two-week ballot-counting exercise that has been marred by protests and graft allegations.

The official Election Commission’s own headquarters came under siege again Tuesday as 1,000 protesters from all over the country demanded re-votes in their constituencies, in a repeat of rowdy demonstrations Monday.

EC commissioner Kotom Ariya has said he expected poll results to be announced on the weekend and the re-elections being held this month to be tallied by Feb. 5.