Earlier this week prominent figures from government coalition parties rounded on prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s Democrat party for their failure to agree to proposed changes to the Thai constitution. But it seems now the parties are drawing back from their earlier suggestions that the dispute could lead to the coalition being dissolved.
The Democrat party announced on Tuesday it will not support a motion involving changes to the voting system from multi-seat constituencies to single-seat constituencies, and that would revoke the requirement that all international agreements must receive parliamentary approval.
The leader of the Bhumjaithai party, Boonjong Wongtrairat, responded by claiming the Democrats were reneging on promises made when the coalition was formed.
Chart Thai Pattana party leaders said they were unsurprised by the Democrats decision. “They’ve been trying to delay this issue for nearly a year now, even though agreements were made earlier,” said party grandee Somsak Prissanananthakul.
However, Chart Thai Pattana’s leader, Chumpol Silpa-archa, later moved to downplay the significance of the dispute, stating that the matter was probably not serious enough to prompt a house dissolution. And the Puea Pandin Party leader, Charnchai Chairungruang, committed to the coalition. “We can stay together – with patience. It’s normal to have different views,” he said.
The Democrats, of course, claim the problem doesn’t spell the end of the coalition. On Friday the prime minister denied that he promised to commit to the consitution change. Abhisit said he was waiting for the Social Action party leader, Suwit Khunkitti, to arrange a meeting of all coalition partners to discuss the issue.
His deputy, Suthep Thaugsuban, said he did not think the differences would lead to Abhisit dissolving the House of Representatives.