Eighteen of the 34 members of the executive committee of the main coalition party Palang Pracharath resigned on Monday, paving the way for the election of a new party leader and executive committee in 45 days.
Paiboon Nititawan, a PPRP deputy leader, said the 18 submitted a letter of resignation to Uttama Savanayana, the party leader on Monday. The resignation took effect from June 1.
Under Item 15 (3) of the party regulation, in case the membership of more than half of the executive committee is terminated, the entire executive committee is to disband. The party is required to fix the date for a general assembly to elect a new executive committee in 45 days, or by July 16 in this case.
The outgoing committee is to remain on duty, pending the election of the new executive committee.
The 18 executive committee members who resigned are: Santi Prompat, Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, Supol Fongngam, Thammanat Prompao, Boonsing Warinrak, Phai Likh, Nirot Sunthornlekha, Sampan Mayuso, Nataphol Teepsuwan, Puttipong Punnakanta, Chanwit Wiphusiri, Sakoltee Phattiyakul, Samrit Taensap, Surachart Sribusakorn, Nipan Sirithorn, Suriya Jungrungreangkij, Pongkavin Jungrungreangkij and Somsak Thepsuthin.
Asked whether Gen Prawit Wongsuwon, the party's chief strategist, could be elected as party leader, Mr Paiboon did not reply directly to the question, saying only that Gen Prawit is already the main pillar of Palang Pracharath. The new executive committee will be elected by the party's general assembly, he said, adding that the procedures would follow the party's regulation.
There has been speculation since late April that Gen Prawit would take the helm of the party, replacing Uttama Savanayana. But earlier on Monday, he declined to comment on the possibility.