A military-appointed Senator has proposed the establishment of a so-called national government, claiming that the Move Forward Party (MFP)-led coalition has failed to make progress in forming a government.
On 1 June 2023, Senator Jadet Inswang gave a live interview on a programme hosted by Sorayuth Suthassanachinda, discussing a proposal for the establishment of a national government.
Jadet stated that the proposal was his personal idea as a citizen and did not come from a majority of senators. He explained that he came up with this idea due to the progress in forming a government by the MFP-led coalition over the past 15 days, which he considered as not progressing smoothly. Jadet mentioned that despite positive signs during press conferences, the issue of appointing a House Speaker has not yet been resolved.
Jadet's allegiances are known. He has already stated that he will vote against MFP leader Pita Limjaroenrat becoming Prime Minister because he cannot accept MFP's proposal to scrap the royal defamation law. In fact, this law does not appear in the coalition's Memorandum of Understanding and MFP have repeatedly said that they will propose amendments to the law to parliament, not scrap it, in line with the mandate given to them by 14 million voters.
Jadet proposed that in the remaining 60 days before parliament meets and a new PM is elected, they should explore alternative ways of forming a government. He expressed his idea of a national government as a possible option.
He pointed out that the members of a national government would comprise intelligent figures from each party. He highlighted the advantage of bringing together different parties to foster unity and form a constructive government where polarization can be avoided.
Pheu Thai Deputy Leader Phumtham Wechayachai countered that the proposal is simply a different opinion, which he will listen to, but he thought a national government is not a common proposal in other countries. National governments usually arise during severe crises within a country, such as a state of war, where the country requires unity to address the crisis. However, Thailand has not yet experienced any such crisis. The democratic system is still moving forward according to the constitution. In this election, the pro-democracy parties received more than 300 MP seats. Phumtham emphasized that they must consider the expectations of the people, and work together to fulfil them.
According to an iLaw think piece ‘National government: path to survival, alternative or dead end?’, between 2013-2019, there were at least 4 similar proposals for the establishment of a national government. The proposed format involved all political parties functioning as a legislative wing without an opposition, with a PM accepted by all sides to run the country temporarily for 1-2 years. The aim is to create unity and amend the constitution to ensure fairness before returning power to the people through elections.
In 2019, several politicians criticized the idea of a national government, saying it was difficult to achieve and a violation of the democratic system.
At that time, Pannikar Wanich, the spokesperson of the then Future Forward Party, opposed the idea based on 3 reasons: it violates the constitution, it violates the principle of democracy, and it contradicts the ideology of the Party.
“In Thai political history, there have been multiple times when proposals for the establishment of a national government have emerged because some political parties wanted to form a government but didn’t have the votes to do so. So they claimed there was a deadlock and introduced the fancy term 'national government.' But if we allow parties with a majority of seats to form the government, we can see that there is no way a political deadlock can happen," said Panikar.