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Breaking Boundaries: Unprecedented Conflict Erupts Over Thai Cabinet Reshuffle – A Pre-Vote Power Play or Post-Election Strategy?

In the day-to-day dynamics of Thailand’s political arena, the Pheu Thai Party spearheading the endeavour to forge a fresh government and its prime collaborator, the Bhumjaithai Party, find themselves at crossed paths over the schedule for cabinet portfolio allocation. Pheu Thai holds firm that the dispensation of cabinet positions will transpire only subsequent to their prime ministerial candidate earning the parliament’s endorsement, in contrast, Bhumjaithai is advocating for early resolution of the matter, before the ballot.

“Proceedings for deciding roles within the cabinet will commence only post the vote for the prime minister,” declared Phumtham Wechayachai, Deputy Leader, Pheu Thai, on a fine Tuesday afternoon. Unconcerned about the circulating speculations that the imminent coalition compatriots are exerting pressure on Pheu Thai to distribute cabinet ranks beforehand, he reiterated that the nominations for the various positions will originate only after the House and the Senate have held the prime minister elections.

Maintaining composure, Mr. Phumtham, re-affirmed his party’s contender for premiership, Srettha Thavisin, who according to him shall comfortably cruise through the by-election, backed by a strong support from elected MPs and nominated senators. “Mr. Srettha boasts of assurance from MPs spanning various ideologies, exempting a select few parties committed to staging opposition, such as the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP),” he added. According to Mr. Phumtham, PPRP showed readiness to be part of the alliance without angling for any cabinet position.

Although, Bhumjaithai and its leader Anutin Charnvirakul vehemently voiced objections, stating that terms concerning the cabinet role allocation must be made crystal clear prior to conducting the prime ministerial vote. Mr. Anutin expressed his intention of discussing the matter with Mr. Phumtham, Cholnan Srikaew, the leader of Pheu Thai, and Prasert Chanthararuangthong, the Pheu Thai secretary-general. He was positive about the dialogue being productive and paving the way for creating a consensus amongst all parties. Mr. Anutin anticipates the parliament casting votes for the PM sometime next week.

In the aftermath of May 14 general election, Pheu Thai emerged as the second largest party, having secured 141 House seats, parting ways with its former alliance with the Move Forward Party that won the top spot with 151 House seats. Bhumjaithai, holding the third place with 71 seats, has turned out to be Pheu Thai’s largest ally in its contemplated coalition government, in the absence of Move Forward.

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