Rift denied as PPRP revamps senior line-up
Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) leader Prawit Wongsuwon has downplayed a feared rift in the ruling party after an internal shake-up, saying he has everything under control.
Gen Prawit, also a deputy prime minister, said the ruling party will not tolerate internal conflicts after a new executive board was elected at the PPRP's general assembly in Khon Kaen on Friday.
At the meeting, Gen Prawit resigned briefly as PPRP leader to pave the way for the leadership to be revamped. A new executive board was also picked where Deputy Agriculture Minister Capt Thamanat Prompow was voted to replace Anucha Nakasai as party secretary-general.
Gen Prawit was then re-elected unopposed as party leader with 582 votes and Capt Thamanat was named secretary-general with 556 votes.
Gen Prawit was first elected PPRP leader in June last year, also in an uncontested contest.
Capt Thamanat's coveted role as the new PPRP secretary-general is predicted to cause a stir within the party. Capt Thamanat succeeded in consolidating his power in the PPRP before winning enough support to take on the second-most powerful seat in the ruling party.
He is also well regarded by Gen Prawit.
On Sunday, Gen Prawit insisted there was no way he would allow the PPRP to descend into disarray on his watch.
He denied any infighting in the run-up to the general election or at the meeting. It stemmed from reporters' own imagination, Gen Prawit said.
"I'm still here [in the PPRP]. There's nothing to it," he said.
Gen Prawit also dismissed speculation that the latest changes in the PPRP's top executive line-up would prompt a cabinet reshuffle.
"It's a different issue," he said, explaining the changes were an internal affair and would not have any knock-on effect on the coalition cabinet.
Political sources, however, said Capt Thamanat, currently a deputy minister, may soon assume a full ministerial post, as befits his status of secretary-general. However, it is unclear which ministry he might lead.
Capt Thamanat himself said the new executive reflects the party's inclusiveness of various regions of the country and admitted his work ahead as PPRP secretary-general will be tough, with the primary goal being a return to power after the next election.