Sudarat launches new party
Former Pheu Thai heavyweight Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, who left the opposition party last month, has started a new political party.
Her Thai Srang Thai (National Building Party) has been registered with the Election Commission (EC) and once it is formally approved, will convene a general assembly to select an executive board, according to a Pheu Thai source.
The party is also likely to be renamed to avoid being confused with the similar-sounding Srang Thai Institute, which is chaired by Khunying Sudarat.
She will decide on a new party name with her close aides, the source added.
Speculation that Khunying Sudarat was looking to establish a new party after quitting Pheu Thai had been rife for some time.
When she announced her resignation, three Pheu Thai bigwigs quit with her.
They were Pokin Polakul, Watana Muangsook and Pongsakorn Annanopporn, who reportedly registered the new party.
According to the source, Khunying Sudarat was approached by several key figures to join their parties but she decided to set up her own to specifically work for "little people", narrow Thailand's social and economic gaps and fight the dictatorship.
The source said he expected several Pheu Thai figures to join the new party, including Torpong Chaiyasarn, a former deputy health minister. Khunying Sudarat quit Pheu Thai last month amid reports of a rift after her close aides were shunned by the party's new executive board, reducing her influence in the party.
She is a political veteran, having co-founded the now-defunct Thai Rak Thai Party with ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 1998.