Post handouts ignore small parties

Post handouts ignore small parties

All but one still swear loyalty to bloc

Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Thamanat Prompow, blue shirt, meets with nine small parties on Tuesday. The parties later declared their continued support for the government following a reported row over political posts. Varuth Hirunyatheb
Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Thamanat Prompow, blue shirt, meets with nine small parties on Tuesday. The parties later declared their continued support for the government following a reported row over political posts. Varuth Hirunyatheb

The cabinet on Tuesday handed 41 political posts to members of the ruling coalition but ignored the bloc's small parties, one of which announced its withdrawal from the government.

Holders of the posts -- including ministry advisers, secretaries to ministers and to deputy ministers, and assistants to ministers -- are former MPs of coalition parties. Some of them had missed out on cabinet appointments.

The political posts approved on Tuesday were nominated by the parties which oversee the respective ministries. Among the appointees are many key members of coalition partners, said government spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat.

They include Chaiyos Jiramethakorn, who has been named as deputy secretary-general to the prime minister, and Chamni Sakdiset as adviser to Deputy Prime Minister Jurin Laksanavisit, who is the Democrat Party leader.

However, members of nine small parties in the coalition were left out of Tuesday's appointments. The government has been rocked by a reported conflict spurred by dissatisfaction among small coalition parties at not receiving government roles.

Also on Tuesday, the Thai Civilized Party, with one MP, held a press conference to announce it has quit the ruling coalition. With Thai Civilized's departure, the coalition now features 19 parties.

Party leader, Mongkolkit Suksintaranont, explained the move was borne of frustration at not being treated "with respect" by the ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) after it failed to incorporate Thai Civilized's policies in the government manifesto.

He also vented his displeasure at the government's intention to increase oil taxes and boost populist "handout programmes", along with the ongoing legal controversy over Gen Prayut's incomplete oath-taking during last month's cabinet swearing-in ceremony.

A separate press conference on Tuesday saw the coalitions' nine remaining small parties reaffirm their support for the government.

At the same time, Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Thamanat Prompow, assigned by the PPRP to liaise with the small parties, revealed they too were in line to receive political posts, which are likely to be forwarded for cabinet consideration on Aug 20.

Sampan Lertnuwat, leader of the Polamuang Thai Party, one of the nine small parties, said the parties were willing to perform their duties without bargaining for political posts in return.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha insisted the political posts were important to government and were not tokens being swapped for political favours.


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