By Thai Newsroom Reporters
TWENTY MPs of splinter parties might leave their current camps for the Thai Economic Party, said one of their lawmakers today (May 25).
Tairaktham MP Pirawit Ruangluedolapak said the 20 MPs of the splinter parties, most of which only have one MP each, might probably decide to join ranks with 18 Thai Economic MPs, including MP Thammanat Prompao, so that they could possibly be reelected under the banners of the brand-new camp in the next general election.
Given an ongoing amendment to the organic law governing the election for MPs, chances for those splinter-party lawmakers to return to the House of Representatives will likely be slim due to the reduction in the number of party-listed MPs from 150 to 100 whilst that of constituency-based MPs will be increased from 350 to 400, thus making a total of 500 lawmakers
All those MPs contested the nationwide election of 2019 in the party-listed mode to make it to parliament, given the highly-controversial, perplexing calculations by the Election Commission to provide MP seats for those who may have run in party-list mode and grasped as few as 20,000-plus votes nationwide.
The splinter-party MPs have planned to hold an informal talk with Thammanat either tomorrow or Friday to discuss the possibility of their joining his party in the foreseeable future, Pirawit said.
The Tairaktham MP confirmed that relationships between the splinter-party MPs and the Thai Economic secretary-general have remained close and cordial and that the former would apparently prefer the latter’s camp to all others.
The splinter-party MPs will likely help the Pheu Thai-led opposition bloc with a censure/no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and other members of his cabinet if they finally join Thammanat’s party. These splinter-party MPs had earlier adopted pro-Prayut stands and cast their votes in his support at parliament.
Thammanat is largely expected to jump onto the opposition’s bandwagon in grilling Prayut during a censure debate which is to be closely followed by votes of confidence speculated in early July since both have held grudges against each other following last September’s censure/no-confidence motion which prompted the latter to oust the former from the post of deputy agriculture & cooperatives minister.
Thammanat was accused by pro-Prayut factions of having hatched a clandestine plot for certain coalition MPs to abstain from casting a post-censure vote in support of Prayut, thus fueling hearsay that millions of baht were handed out to each of those legislators in hush-hush fashion behind the parliament chamber in exchange for the survival of the embattled premier.
Meanwhile, Thammanat is expected to become top leader of Thai Economic Party in lieu of Wit Thephasadin na Ayudhya who resigned in a questionable manner yesterday.
Fifteen members of the executive board of the party resigned en masse yesterday prompting the dissolution of the current board and the setting up of a new one with newly-named members sooner than later.
Wit admitted to have developed conflict of opinions with Thammanat probably over whether all 18 Thai Economic MPs should perform either in support of Prayut or in opposition to him, especially when it comes to a censure/no-confidence motion. Thammanat repeatedly said his rebellious group of MPs will primarily perform as “independent” lawmakers who may or may not side with the Prayut government depending on case-by-case basis.
Nevertheless, the former Thai Economic leader has been closely associated with Palang Pracharath Party leader/Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan who was invariably accredited for the naming of Prayut as head of the Palang Pracharath-led coalition government.
Thammanat used to perform as Palang Pracharath secretary-general and was seen as a right-hand man for the boss of Palang Pracharath Party where he led an exodus of 18 rebellious MPs earlier this year.
Secretary-general of the Thai Economic Party Thammanat Prompao hosted a luncheon for splinter-MPs at a Bangkok hotel in March. Photos: Thai Rath