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Banharn 'nod to coalition'

The Chart Thai and Puea Pandin parties have agreed to join a People Power Party-led coalition government, with the former seeking eight Cabinet seats.

Published on December 30, 2007

Warawut Silapa-archa, son of party leader Banharn, confirmed both parties had accepted an invitation from the PPP, which is planning to form a coalition government with five other parties.

Other smaller parties already agreeing to join the coalition are Ruam Jai Thai Chart Pattana, with nine seats, Matchima Thipataya, with seven, and Pracharaj with five.

A Chart Thai source said the party had sought the agriculture portfolio for Prapat Potisuthon, education for Somsak Prissananuntakul, tourism and sports for Kanchana Silapa-archa and social development for General Yuthasak Sasiprapha.

In addition, the party has asked for a deputy premiership for Sanan Kachornprasart and four deputy-minister slots for other party executives

The offer to join the alliance was extended to party leader Banharn on Friday when leading PPP members visited him at Ramathibodi Hospital, where he was admitted reportedly with high blood pressure.

PPP deputy leader Somchai Wongsawat, brother-in-law of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, said on Friday night the offer was designed to create an even more stable coalition government.

Warawut said the stand of the Puea Pandin and Chart Thai parties might have appeared confusing because People Power made separate offers after the two had announced they would stick together.

Warawut said the two had separately accepted the invitations. They will announce this at a news conference on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Somchai and some PPP executives yesterday visited Vatana Asavahame, the Puea Pandin advisory chairman, at his Bangkok home.

Somchai said after the meeting that the party had asked Puea Pandin to join the coalition. Puea Pandin will need to hold a party meeting to approve the invitation, he added.

Vatana said his party and Chart Thai were close to a joint decision about their coalition positions.

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