PRIME Minister Chuan Leekpai managed to forestall threatened early elections when his Democrat Party announced yesterday it was bringing an opposition party into the shaky coalition. It was unlikely Mr Chuan would serve out a full four-year term, but the new alignment, described as a marriage of convenience for all parties, would give him more time to prepare to face the voters, analysts said. Under yesterday's agreement, Chart Pattana would replace the New Aspiration Party (NAP), second-largest member of Mr Chuan's five-party coalition, which quit the Government. The new coalition would give the Government 201 seats, of a total of 360. The Chart Pattana will inherit 14 Cabinet seats, but not the Interior Ministry, Thai TV reported late yesterday. That influential post has been reserved for Democrat secretary-general Sanan Kachornprasart. In turn, the Democrats are to give up the Ministry of Agriculture, it reported. The announcement, by Democrat secretary-general Sanan Kachornprasart, put a temporary end to political in-fighting which threatened to trigger a censure vote against the Government and force snap elections. 'No one was really ready for elections, except perhaps the NAP,' one analyst said. The NAP had an advantage because party leader Chaowalit Yongchaiyudh ran the Interior Ministry. Mr Chuan also appeared to have headed off a scheduled censure motion against a Democrat minister tomorrow, thanks to the coalition. Political sources said the shift of Chart Pattana from opposition to government benches meant that Agriculture Minister Niphon Promphand could resign at today's Cabinet meeting. Mr Niphon and deputy minister Suthep Thueksuban, a Democrat who resigned last week, were accused of manipulating a government land reform package to benefit rich supporters rather than the landless farmers it was intended to help. Both Democrat and Chart Pattana parties said their decision to work together was motivated by higher national interests, including the need to preserve the democratic process and the need to maintain economic stability. Political sources said yesterday that about 15 Senators had now withdrawn their signatures from a request for a special session of Parliament after the current session's normal close on December 19, and more were expected to follow. A total of 230 MPs had signed the petition, 20 more than required for action. Chart Pattana leader Chatichai Choonhavan, 74, said on Friday he did not plan to take up a Cabinet post. A former premier whose government was toppled by military force in February 1991 over allegations of corruption at the top, Mr Chatichai described the new coalition as 'not good for Chart Pattana, but good for the country'. Meanwhile, others still hoping to advance their political careers over the coming few weeks include Chart Thai party chief Banharn Silpa-Archa, former prime minister Chatchai Choonhavan, Chavalit Yongchaiyudh who split with the Government over its policy of seeking the election of village headmen and the former governor of Bangkok Chamlong Srimuang.