By Thai Newsroom Reporters
PRIME MINISTER PRAYUT Chan-o-cha today (Jan 20) said he has not as yet contemplated reshuffling his cabinet or dissolving the House of Representatives anytime soon, following a sudden ouster of Palang Pracharath Party secretary-general Thammanat Prompow and 20 Palang Pracharath MPs from the biggest government party.
Prayut told reporters at Government House that he had been by no means involved in the latest political phenomenon inside Palang Pracharath Party which culminated in the ouster of Thammanat who currently performs as an MP and the 20 other Palang Pracharath MPs under his command due to internal partisan conflict for which the deposed party secretary-general was reportedly put to blame.
Nevertheless, Prayut maintained that he will not reshuffle the cabinet of ministers or dissolve the House to warrant a general election anytime soon though the number of Palang Pracharath-led government MPs may considerably dwindle to a meagre majority in the House.
Thammanat was reshuffled out of the Prayut cabinet as deputy agriculture and cooperatives minister alongside Naruemon Pinyosinwat as deputy labour minister following a lengthy censure debate and no-confidence motion under which the deposed Palang Pracharath secretary-general was accused of orchestrating a hush-hush plot for certain MPs to deny support for the besieged premier. However, Prayut has not given anyone a cabinet seat in place of Thammanat or Naruemon since.
During informal talks at the residence of Deputy Prime Minister/Palang Pracharath Party leader Prawit Wongsuwan, Thammanat insisted that he and his partisan followers be deposed from the biggest coalition partner.
Thammanat insisted that the partisan conflict which apparently aggravated when the Palang Pracharath candidates were defeated by the Democrat contestants in last Sunday’s by-election in Chumphorn and Songkhla be ultimately settled by the ouster of him and his 20 followers from the party. A majority of 78 Palang Pracharath MPs finally voted to oust them.
Thammanat’s persistence prompted the Palang Pracharath Party leader to give up and decide to have him and the 20 MPs under his command formally ousted “for the sake of peace” among the rank and file of the party.
However, Digital Economy & Society Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn and Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin, who had earlier appeared “hostile” to Thammanat, as well as other members of the party’s executive board abstained from voting for fear of possibilities of a future legal battle.
Top: Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Home Page: Thai Parliament meeting chamber. Both photos: NNT