Somsak Thepsutin and Suriya Juangroongruangkit have officially joined the Pheu Thai Party, defecting from the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) in which they were known as key figures in the Sam Mitr faction.
Their decision to join the opposition party was announced at a press conference on Thursday. Mr Somsak’s wife, Anongwan, was revealed to have also joined Pheu Thai at the event.
While the trio had never been a member of the Pheu Thai Party before, they were cadres of the party’s predecessor, namely the Thai Rak Thai Party, which was disbanded over an electoral dispute.
Mr Suriya served as Thai Rak Thai’s secretary-general, while Mr Somsak and Ms Anongwan both served as ministers in previous governments led by Pheu Thai’s past incarnations, said Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew.
Dr Cholnan said the trio switched allegiances to other parties due to the “volatile” political situation over the past two decades, before adding he hoped there won’t be similar situations in the future.
“One of the way to ensure such situation won’t repeat itself is by securing a landslide win in the next election, by winning at least 310 seats in the House,” he said.
Mr Somsak said he will be doing his best to maximise the party’s chances of securing a landslide victory in the next election.
“In the past, Thai Rak Thai were able to, more or less, win by a landslide because the party under Thaksin’s [Shinawatra] leadership, the party was able to deliver its campaign promises to its voters,” he said.
Mr Suriya, meanwhile, said Thailand’s economic structure has been destroyed over the past eight years as the PPRP was unable to win enough seats in the House to form a government on its own.
“As a result, the party had to give away key cabinet portfolios to its coalition partners, diminishing its ability to undo the economic damage dealt by the coup [in 2014],” he said.