Thailand's Democrat Party joins pro-junta coalition, to vote for Prayut as PM

BANGKOK (XINHUA) - Thailand's Democrat Party on Tuesday (June 4) announced its intent to join the coalition led by the pro-government Palang Pracharath Party and vote for Mr Prayut Chan-o-cha as the country's prime minister.

Democrat party leader Jurin Laksanawisit read out a statement after his party conducted a secret ballot on whether to join the coalition and support Mr Prayut as prime minister.

A joint House of Representatives and Senate meeting is scheduled on Wednesday during which 500 MPs and 250 senators will elect the new prime minister.

The Democrat party leader confirmed that the three points of demand which his party had raised in exchange for its joining the pro-Prayut coalition have been met.

The demands included the Democrat Party's hand-to-mouth economic measures being included in the new government's anti-poverty policy, a constitutional amendment and transparency in government, Mr Jurin announced.

Mr Jurin said the Democrat Party, the country's oldest party, which was downsized from a large-size party to a medium-size one following the March 24 election, is certain of making a majority government as its 53 MPs will join hands a few other parties.

He was apparently referring to the Bhumjaithai Party and Chartthaipattana Party, which were earlier invited by the Palang Pracharath Party to take part in its coalition.

Democrat MPs and executive board members conducted a secret vote on Tuesday on whether or not to join the Palang Pracharath-led coalition and to pick Mr Prayut for prime minister.

Sixty-one voted in support of joining the coalition and voting for Mr Prayut as prime minister, while 16 voted against it.