Chat Thai to join opposition ranks


Chat Thai leader Banharn Silapa-archa yesterday said that his party would serve in the opposition so that censure debates could be held against Cabinet members, but that members would still vote for Thai Rak Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra to be the next prime minister.

Banharn said he was happy that his party had made some inroads into Bangkok and the South, by winning one seat in each area.

“The fact that the Chat Thai won in Bangkok and the South, that it is the real victory for us,” Banharn said.

Banharn said he had told the prime minister that he would work on the opposition bench because the Thai Rak Thai had won more than enough House seats to form a one-party government.

“The Chat Thai will perform the opposition’s duty although we will vote for Thaksin to become the next prime minister. Voting for Thaksin’s premiership and working as an opposition party are separate issues,” Banharn said.

He said he decided to have the Chat Thai serve as an opposition party because the Democrat and Mahachon parties would not otherwise have enough seats to open censure debates against ministers.

“It requires 101 MPs to open censure debates. If the opposition cannot hold censure debates, it would be bad for politics,” Banharn said.

The Chat Thai leader said that his party performed better than was expected by winning some 18 House seats – 10 of those in Bangkok and central provinces, one from the North, six from provinces in the Northeast and one from the South.

“It’s better than the last election. We used to have 39 MPs but over 20 have bolted, which left us with only 12. We won more than that,” Banharn said.

The Chat Thai leader also expressed sympathy for Democrat Party leader Banyat Bantadtan, who announced yesterday that he would step down today as party leader in order to show responsibility for the Democrats’ poor showing in the election.

Banharn said he also felt sorry for Mahachon Party chief adviser Sanan Kachornprasart, who said he would quit politics after Mahachon won only one House seat.

“I have sympathy for them and would like to give them moral,” Banharn said.

Banharn said he would ask the Chat Thai’s Janista Liewchalermwong, who won in Bangkok’s Don Muang district, to thank Bangkokians.

Asked what position he would give party-list candidate Chuwit Kamolvisij, who was credited for contributing significantly to the Chat Thai’s result in the city, Banharn said Chuwit did not ask for anything in return for his work on the party’s behalf.

He added that he had made his son, Warawut Silapa-archa, his political heir.

Published on February 08, 2005