Sompong elected Pheu Thai leader

Sompong elected Pheu Thai leader

Pheu Thai heavyweight Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan (left) greets Chiang Mai MP Sompong Amornwiwat before the party's special assembly yesterday in which Mr Sompong was elected as the new party leader. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)
Pheu Thai heavyweight Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan (left) greets Chiang Mai MP Sompong Amornwiwat before the party's special assembly yesterday in which Mr Sompong was elected as the new party leader. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

The Pheu Thai Party on Friday elected Sompong Amornwiwat as its new leader with the urgent mission of spearheading a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha during the current parliament session.

In a special assembly, Mr Sompong was named the new leader, succeeding Pol Lt Gen Viroj Pao-in who resigned early this month in what was seen as a move to get the party ready for its opposition role. Anudit Nakhonthap was named the party's secretary-general, replacing Phumtham Wechayachai. Both Mr Sompong and Mr Anudit stood for office unchallenged. The party's new 27-member executive board includes 11 MPs.

A party source on Friday described the new executive board as a mixture of three groups. The first group includes those close to ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, another includes the faction under party heavyweight Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, and the third is a group associated with former executive members led by Mr Phumtham.

In an interview, Mr Sompong said Pheu Thai would keep the coalition government under close scrutiny from day one, when Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha delivers his policy statement in parliament.

The next job would be to examine the 2020 budget bill, which is expected to be submitted to the House in September, he said.

"And of course, before the House session comes to a close, a no-confidence motion will be lodged," he said, adding that the party has yet to single out cabinet ministers for the planned censure debate.

Mr Anudit said he would serve as the main link between the party's MPs and executives.

Khunying Sudarat, who remains chief of the party's strategic committee, said the party would enlist the civil sector to help keep the government in check.

Veteran politician Sanoh Thienthong, who serves as head of the advisory committee, expressed confidence in the party maintaining unity, saying there will be no renegades.


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