Thanathorn hits out at 'treacherous' defectors

Thanathorn hits out at 'treacherous' defectors

Ex-MPs joining regime 'showing true colours'

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, leader of Future Forward Party, at his headquarters on Thursday. He blasted 'treacherous politicians' rushing to switch allegiance to the military, saying it opened a chance for the public to back democracy. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)
Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, leader of Future Forward Party, at his headquarters on Thursday. He blasted 'treacherous politicians' rushing to switch allegiance to the military, saying it opened a chance for the public to back democracy. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)

Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit on Thursday shrugged off mass defections by veteran politicians to a military-backed political party, saying the move only reveals these politicians' true colours.

Mr Thanathorn said the political situation presents an opportunity for the public to determine who is rooting for a democratic system and who vouches for the regime.

He denounced career politicians who have decided to serve the regime as traitors although his uncle, Suriya Jungrungreangkit, was said to be running a defection campaign.

Mr Suriya, a former transport minister who once served as a member of the now-defunct Thai Rak Thai Party, is reportedly a key member of a group calling itself the "Three Companions" persuading veteran politicians from various parties into supporting the pro-regime party.

The Pheu Thai Party yesterday accused people involved in recruiting former MPs of dumping billions of baht to lure them.

Citing unnamed sources, Anusorn Iamsa-ard, Pheu Thai's acting deputy spokesman, said some A-list former MPs were offered 50 million baht each to switch camps, on top of a monthly allowance of 500,000 baht until the next election, expected in February next year, is concluded.

The Pheu Thai politician called on voters to teach them a lesson about when it is time to go to the polls.

Meanwhile, a source said pro-regime figures have moved on to target politicians in the North after reportedly luring at least 30 former Pheu Thai MPs in the Northeast.

According to the source, the group is targeting the Buranupakorn family which has political clout in Chiang Mai and some family members have reportedly agreed to join the pro-regime party.

The Buranupakorn family is known to be a strong political ally of a faction in Pheu Thai run by Yaowapha Wongsawat, sister of fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The source said that if the Buranupakorns defect, Pheu Thai's political base in the North is likely to be hit significantly.

Events are are being closely watched after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on June 11 issued a prime ministerial order reinstating four provincial administrative organisation (PAO) chiefs.

Among the four, who were suspended in 2015 pending probes into graft allegations, was Boonlert Buranupakorn of Chiang Mai.

However, the government insisted the reinstatements were not politically motivated and the four were cleared of suspected graft.

The suspension orders were meant to prevent officials from tampering with evidence during the probes.

The other three were Sathiraporn Naksuk of Yasothon, Malairak Thongpha of Mukdahan, and Chaimongkol Chairop of Sakon Nakhon.

According to the source, the recruitment focus is also on the northern province of Phayao thought to be playing host to next month's mobile cabinet meeting.

Ronritthichai Khankhet, a member of the Ban Rim Nam faction led by Suchart Tancharoen, said his group has about 40 new politicians who stand a chance against the Pheu Thai in the next poll.


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