By Thai Newsroom Reporters
PALANG PRACHARATH Party leader/Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan has decided to contain Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin’s powers among the rank and file of the ruling party, sources said today (Sept. 27).
Prawit will likely name Somsak who currently sits on the Palang Pracharath Party’s executive board merely as adviser to the party leader instead of handing him the relatively active post of a deputy party leader as earlier speculated, the partisan sources said.
Somsak who met with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha during the latter’s visit to a flood-hit Sukhothai province which is the former’s constituency yesterday is known as leader of the Sam Mit faction who might probably develop political conflict with the party’s secretary general Thammanat Prompow, who was deposed from the Prayut cabinet earlier this month.
The Palang Pracharath Party leader recently named Wit Hassadin na Ayuthaya as head of the party’s strategic committee instead of Somsak who had been earlier anticipated to assume such partisan post and that of a deputy party leader respectively.
Given mistrusts allegedly prevailing over the Palang Pracharath Party, following a recent censure debate and no-confidence motion at parliament, conflict inside the divided party has gradually intensified, prompting Prawit to take steps to keep all partisan factions in check, the sources said.
Alongside Industry Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit, viewed as another Sam Mit faction leader, Somsak is feared to exert his influence over certain Palang Pracharath MPs, especially those currently representing the upper-central constituencies.
Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin has quietly asked Prayut to give a cabinet seat to a member of the Sam Mit faction either in place of Thammanat or Deputy Labour Minister Naruemon Pinyosinwat, who was also ousted from his cabinet earlier this month.
Both Thammanat and Naruemon, invariably seen as staunch, close proteges of Prawit’s, were suspected by Prayut to have allegedly orchestrated a hush-hush ploy for certain government MPs to abstain from casting votes in support of the premier over the no-confidence motion which he finally survived.
The sources said it remains to be seen how many Palang Pracharath MPs will accompany Prayut in an official visit to a flood-hit Chaiyaphum on Sept 29, compared to those who will attend Prawit’s visit to an inundated Nakhon Ratchasima on the same day.
Last week, Prawit was accompanied by 55 Palang Pracharath MPs during his visit to Ayutthaya, compared to nine Palang Pracharath MPs attending Prayut’s visit to Petchburi on the same day.
Palong Pracharath Party leader/Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, above, and Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin, Home Page. Top photo: Siam Rath, Home Page photo: NNT