BANGKOK, May 17 (Xinhua) -- The Pheu Thai Party, one of Thailand's major parties, has lent support to Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit in rivalry with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha as post-election prime minister.
Pheu Thai Secretary General Phumtham Wechayachai confirmed on Friday that his party has unreluctantly agreed to vote for Thanathorn as head of a coalition government because the leaderships of the 80-MP Future Forward and 136-MP Pheu Thai have adopted a common standpoint against a parallel bid of the Palang Pracharath Party to keep Prayut in power.
Phumtham said he had unofficially talked with the leaders of several other parties who had earlier joined in an anti-Prayut alliance. He referred to the Prachachart Party, New Liberal Party, Pheu Chart Party and New Economics Party.
On Thursday, Thanathorn offered himself the post of prime minister who may head a coalition government in anticipation of support from the Pheu Thai-led alliance and with an intention to vie with Prayut who has apparently sought to retain it.
Meanwhile, the leaders of the 52-MP Democrat Party and 51-MP Bhumjaithai Party have remained tight-lipped about reported moves to form a coalition with any others.
Democrat Party leader Jurin Laksanawisit, who was voted new party leader on Wednesday, said he would not make comments until after a new executive board of the party has been verified as the Election Commission.
Bhumjaithai leader Anutin Charnvirakul said he would take a clear stand after a seminar for his MPs has been held on the upcoming Monday and views of his supporters nationwide have been taken into account.
Given the supposed support from 250 senators selected by the ruling National Council for Peace and Order led by Prayut, the incumbent prime minister only needs a minimum of 126 MPs to endorse him as prime minister under a simple majority rule. Those numbers may be combined to make 376, which is the simple majority among a total of 750 legislators, consisting of 500 MPs and 250 senators.
Palang Pracharath Party has gained 115 seats in the general election, with other small parties of a total of 22 seats announced their support for Prayut and Palang Pracharath. It seems Prayut already has more than 376 seats from both houses.
The MPs and senators will vote for a prime minister in a joint House of Representatives-Senate meeting which is yet to be scheduled.