Phumtham denies rush for positions

Key Pheu Thai Party member Phumtham Wechayachai has denied party MPs have been lobbying for cabinet seats following the resignation of Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit.

There has been no mounting pressure from factions in the Pheu Thai Party to lobby for cabinet seats, said Mr Phumtham, director of the ruling party and a formerly banned politician.

All party members have performed their duties based on their job assignments and there were no internal conflicts over a cabinet lineup, he said.

He maintained "the far-away person" has played no part in an expected shakeup, which would only be decided by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. He was referring to ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Ms Yingluck's older brother, who is in self-exile overseas following a 2008 graft conviction.

Mr Phumtham, a member of the so-called House No.111 club, made his remark in responding to reports that pressure from the ruling party forced Mr Yongyuth to resign.

Mr Yongyuth resigned from the cabinet on Friday after the National Anti-Corruption Commission ruled last week he had committed malfeasance in the Alpine land case while he was a deputy permanent secretary for the Interior Ministry in 2002.

Several politicians of the House No.111 club, including Mr Phumtham, have emerged as candidates for the vacated posts.

Mr Phumtham denied he would be given a cabinet post.

He saw it unnecessary for the Pheu Thai-led government to reshuffle the cabinet at this moment, as all ministers had proven they could perform their work well.

Mr Phumtham said most politicians who had been earlier tipped as candidates for the cabinet posts would not be made cabinet ministers.

He warned the opposition Democrat Party not to try to politicise Mr Yongyuth's qualifications.

His remark was made in response to a move by the Democrat Party to collect the signatures of 50 MPs to endorse a petition seeking a Constitution Court ruling on Mr Yongyuth's status. Some want to oust him as an MP as well.

Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung yesterday maintained the prime minister would not reshuffle the cabinet for the time being.

About the author

Writer: Aekarach Sattaburuth
Position: Reporter