THE POST OF SECRETARY GENERAL of the Palang Pracharath Party, the largest coalition partner supposedly bound to continually lend solid support for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, might probably be occupied by the likes of an outsider named Chatchai Promlert only if the current one, namely Thammanat Prompow, happened to quit or be deposed for whatever reasons.
Since Thammanat is largely speculated to contemplate quitting the post of secretary general of the largest government party sooner than later after he was dealt a heavy blow by the premier who deposed him as deputy agriculture and cooperatives minister, Prayut will likely manage to bring in the outsider to replace Thammant to play the significant role in the party of which the premier himself has registered no membership, according to political observers.
Thammanat openly admitted that he had suffered a ”failure” pertaining to a recent censure debate and no-confidence motion against the premier and thus prompted himself to take responsibility for it by quitting from the Prayut cabinet only to be preempted by the ouster of him at the order of the premier.
The fiasco running up to the irreparable rupture between Thammanat and Prayut involved the former’s hidden conspiracy to have a number of government MPs abstain from voting in support of the latter in the no-confidence motion coupled with allegations of five million baht in cash bribe having been offered to each of those MPs in exchange for their vote in support of the embattled premier.
The prevailing atmosphere inside the Palang Pracharath Party has undoubtedly remained gloomy and been riddled with misgivings among its rank and file since Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, who concurrently performs as leader of the ruling party, looked fairly frustrated and disappointed at the surprise event in which Prayut deposed Thammanat, viewed as Prawit’s right-hand man, without bothering to have informed him beforehand.
That was a sheer slap in the face of the party leader who could do nothing but lick his wound from the blitz. Prawit who earlier vowed to quit as one of the powers that be only if Prayut was no longer head of government, and is yet to painstakingly swallow his pride, would ultimately choose to side with Prayut rather than any others, a political observer put it.
Given what is invariably seen as fraternal, lasting relationships between Prayut and Prawit, the former would very likely coax and cajole the latter into letting Thammanat go and then look for approaches to mending the fences at the latter’s party with a major change in its executive board. Such internal change would undoubtedly be prompted more or less by the speculated resignation of Thammanat and former deputy labour minister Naruemon Pinyosinwat as secretary general and treasurer of the party respectively.
Thammanat is widely known to have a dozen MPs at his command and many others as his associates among the rank and file of the Palang Pracharath Party, which consists of several factions with one allegedly poised to stab another in the back. He will almost certainly look to set up a brand-new party of his own and ultimately lure these proteges and associates from Prawit’s camp to contest the next election, according to the political observers.
Prawit, earlier viewed as kingmaker who had been very instrumental in the forming of the Palang Pracharath-led coalition government following the 2019 election with Prayut steering the helm, would not only be encouraged by the premier but also Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda to adopt Chatchai as new secretary general of the party in lieu of Thammarat. Thammanat, who recently called on Prawit to dismiss him as secretary general of the party, is being used virtually as a stopgap until Chatchai comes around to take his place sooner than later, they remarked.
Chatchai, who currently holds the post of undersecretary of interior immediately answering to the interior minister and is scheduled to retire at the end of this month, is known to have mapped out a hush-hush scheme to either join a party or set up one of his own. The jigsaw piece seems to fit in so timely to serve the sustained desires of the so-called Sam Por figures namely Prayut, Prawit and Anupong, all being a former army chief, to prolong Prayut’s military-style rule by way of his civilian government.
Given the sought-after scenario coming up in favour of Prayut, who has been largely accused of handling the pandemic crisis in erroneous, incompetent fashion which reportedly prompted Thammanat to revolt in vain, and yet remained under support of Prawit’s divided coalition party, the premier will not decide to dissolve the House of Representatives and call an election in foreseeable future though many of his critics may keenly speculate that this will take place soon, just few months time from now.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was very warm towards Deputy Premier Prawit Wongsuwan yesterday including giving him a side hug. Photos above and below: Sanook.com, Home Page: Naewna
Insert: Top: Thammanat Prompow and Naruemon Pinyosinwat were ousted from the cabinet. Photo: Siam Rath