By Thai Newsroom Reporters
PRIME MINISTER PRAYUT Chan-o-cha today (May 3) downplayed widespread hearsay over an ongoing, clandestine conspiracy to change the head of government during an approaching censure/no-confidence motion.
Asked by reporters at Government House whether he may have gotten wind of such a hush-hush plot to change the prime minister, Prayut shook his head and told them to go find any evidence of it.
Asked to comment on rumours to the extent that as much as 30 million baht in attempted payoff has been offered to each of a dozen MPs of splinter parties in exchange for their vote against Prayut during the censure/no-confidence motion, expected in late June or early July, Prayut shrugged off saying he would never get involved at all.
Prayut confirmed he usually talks with Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan on a daily basis in response to the reporters’ question as to whether he may have consulted him over the rumoured conspiracy.
Neither did Prawit who concurrently leads Palang Pracharath Party comment on the topic though he himself is being widely speculated to replace Prayut in case that the premier is eventually outvoted during the no-confidence motion, thus being immediately obliged to step down.
In his capacity as deputy prime minister, Prawit is said to have been more or less prepared as a “reserve” premier who could possibly replace Prayut in the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin ruled out the possibility that a range of five to 30 million baht in attempted payoff may have been offered by Pheu Thai Party to attribute to the conspiracy as the rumours have it.
The hearsay over the premier-changing plot promptly spread after the leadership of the largest opposition party held an informal talk with the so-called Group 16, consisting of a dozen MPs of the splinter parties and headed by Pichet Sathirachawan, who is currently an MP of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party.
Not only those splinter-party MPs but an “independent” group of 18 MPs headed by former Palang Pracharath secretary-general/current Thai Economic secretary-general Thammanat Prompao might possibly abstain from voting either for or against Prayut or join those who will cast votes of no-confidence against him following a marathon censure debate at parliament.
Thammanat has remained tight-lipped when asked by reporters whether his rebellious faction of MPs who have been ousted from Prawit’s party may ever vote against Prayut or, to say the least, abstain from voting.
The number of votes for Prayut is yet to amount no less than half the total MPs, accounting for 237, to practically survive the no-confidence motion though the number of votes against the embattled premier may come out less than half the total MPs.
If outvoted either with less than half the total MPs on his side or with more than half the total MPs against him, Prayut would be automatically pressed to step down and it is very likely for Prawit to replace him as head of the current coalition with his Palang Pracharath camp remaining as its core until the four-year term of the House of Representatives expires in March 2023.
Top and Home Page: Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Both photos: Matichon