PPRP shake-up on the cards
'Problems' with Thamanat on agenda
All eyes are on a meeting on Thursday of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) which may discuss an overhaul of its executive board, a move which could see its secretary-general replaced.
Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, Minister of Digital Economy and Society (DES) and a PPRP MP, said on Wednesday the executive committee will meet on Thursdayto discuss a possible restructuring.
"The reason for the shake-up is because the ruling party must work hand-in-glove with the government and it may be difficult for the party to work if it is not in sync with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha,'' Mr Chaiwut said.
He said that the current executive committee has not resigned but if they were to do so, the matter would be announced at a press conference.
Asked if there was any connection between the party's overhaul and its secretary-general Capt Thamanat Prompow, Mr Chaiwut admitted there was a problem with Capt Thamanat.
"The media and the public already know what it is all about," Mr Chaiwut said.
Last month, Capt Thamanat was sacked by Gen Prayut as deputy agriculture minister; at the same time, Narumon Pinyosinwat was dismissed as a deputy labour minister.
Their dismissals came after Capt Thamanat was accused of plotting to topple Gen Prayut from power, by persuading some MPs within the PPRP and smaller coalition parties to vote against him in the no-confidence debate early last month.
The speculation about an overhaul gained traction after Gen Prayut summoned core members of the PPRP's factions -- including Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin, Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit, Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin, PM's Office Minister Anucha Nakasai and Deputy Finance Minister Santi Promphat -- to a meeting at Government House on Monday.
It is believed the meeting touched on several issues including a possible internal reshuffle which would pave the way for the re-election of the entire executive board. However, Mr Chaiwut denied a claim by activist Srisuwan Janya that the party is being dominated by Gen Prayut in light of Monday's meeting.
Mr Chaiwut insisted the prime minister only met with his cabinet ministers to discuss the running of the country. "It is a normal practice, not party domination,'' he said.
Mr Srisuwan on Wednesday said he had asked the Election Commission to investigate whether the party has violated Section 28 of the law on political parties which prohibits them from allowing any person who is not a member to dominate, influence or direct party affairs.
"If found guilty, the party will be dissolved,'' he said.
PPRP deputy leader Wirach Ratanasate also denied a report that nine PPRP executive committee members had tendered their resignations. He said the party's registrar informed him that no one had submitted any resignations, Mr Wirach said, adding that any differences among party members would be thrashed out at today's meeting.
Mr Wirach said Deputy Prime Minister and PPRP leader Prawit Wongsuwon had not sent any signal regarding the replacement of the party's secretary-general.
The rumour mill has gone into overdrive that more than half of the PPRP's 26 executive committee members will resign to pave the way for a revamp of the committee -- a move which would see Capt Thamanat replaced as secretary-general.
Mr Wirach also declined to comment when asked if Gen Prayut would become the PPRP leader, merely saying he is the government leader and does not want to be involved with the party's internal affairs.
Mr Wirach also tried to allay concerns that internal conflicts within the ruling party could affect the passage of key legislative bills in parliament, which may lead the prime minister to decide to dissolve the House of Representatives.
"There are several techniques to cope with this and there is no reason why the prime minister should dissolve the House,'' said Mr Wirach, who is also the chief government whip.
On Tuesday, Capt Thamanat met for talks with Gen Prawit at the Five Provinces Bordering Forest Preservation Foundation, party sources said.
- Palang Pracharath Party