Govt U-turns over new power for PPRP

Govt U-turns over new power for PPRP

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, centre left, and Democrat Party leader Jurin Laksanawisit, centre right, who is also a deputy prime minister and the commerce minister are at the parliament in Bangkok in February. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, centre left, and Democrat Party leader Jurin Laksanawisit, centre right, who is also a deputy prime minister and the commerce minister are at the parliament in Bangkok in February. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

The government has retracted its own order allowing the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) to supervise its Covid-19 campaign in the South, a traditional election stronghold of the coalition Democrat Party.

The U-turn, authorised by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, was intended to ease the displeasure brewing within coalition ranks, according to a source at Government House.

Democrat Party leader Jurin Laksanawisit was visibly upset that PPRP deputy leader Thamanat Prompow had been assigned to run the campaign in areas regarded as his party's political strongholds and accused the PPRP of trying to make inroads into its turf.

The source said Gen Prayut, who earlier insisted the campaign to coordinate help to people affected by Covid-19 was well executed, was so concerned about the growing rift he personally stepped in to nip it in the bud.

The PM instructed Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam to liaise with cabinet ministers from various coalition parties and reallocate the supervision of provinces.

Although the PPRP will be handing over supervision of many southern provinces to the Democrats, the ruling party is expected to retain supervision over those areas represented by its own MPs, said the source.

Mr Wissanu said the order had been approved by the cabinet on April 20 and Mr Jurin said on Wednesday that the issue was now resolved.

He also insisted that granting Gen Prayut sweeping legal powers to combat the surge in Covid-19 infections was nothing to be concerned about and brushed aside claims that cabinet ministers of coalition parties were being snubbed as power was now beginning to be hoarded by the prime minister.

On Tuesday, the cabinet granted the prime minister power to temporarily enforce 31 laws to curb the spread of Covid-19. The temporary transfer of power is limited to trying to prevent the transmission of the virus, mitigating its impact and helping the public.

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