Democrats facing internal pressure to vote against government budget

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Thailand’s Democrat Party is facing significant internal pressure to vote against the budget bill currently being debated in parliament, sources inside the party told Thai Enquirer on Tuesday.

The budget bill, which has been proposed by the ruling coalition of which the Democrats are a part of, has been strongly criticized by members of the opposition and by elements of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party.

The bill, critics say, is bloated with too much spending going to national defense and unnecessary mega projects and not enough on stimulating the economy and rebuilding the country post pandemic.

Should the bill fail, long time political observers say that it could spell the end of the Prayut Chan-ocha government and force the prime minister to dissolve the house and call early elections.

With the Bhumjai Thai saying that they will vote with the government to pass the bill, all eyes are firmly fixed on the Democrat Party and indications about which way they would vote.

The Democrat and the PPRP have not always seen eye-to-eye, both conservative giants have gone head-to-head in run-off elections over the past two years that have resulted in name calling and bad feelings.

According to one source within the Democrats, there is serious pressure on party leader Jurin Laksanawisit to not vote with the ruling party and move to contest polls.

“They [the PPRP] have no loyalty to us and why should we vote to prop up a flawed budget at the expense of our own political cache and brand,” the source said on condition of anonymity.

“Let us go to polls, let’s vote down this budget, and see where the chips fall.”

The source added that those with official positions in the government including Commerce Minister Jurin were reluctant to go to early polls and have resisted calls from party members to vote against the budget.

“At the moment it is undecided but Jurin is facing significant pressure from the party.”

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