PM upbeat despite threat of new party
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha vowed not to give up fighting for the good of the country on Friday amid speculation that he would face growing political pressure following the departure of 21 MPs led by Capt Thamanat Prompow from the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP).
A source said Gen Prayut played an old song called Ya Yom Phae (Don't Give Up) by Sunisa "Aom" Sukboonsang near the end of a meeting of the economic management committee on the impact of Covid-19 at Government House on Friday.
He was quoted as telling the meeting that: "I never give up. This song is to give moral support to everyone who has worked together. They should never surrender in the face of obstacles but keep on fighting like the prime minister for the good of the country and the people."
Emerging from the meeting, Gen Prayut appeared in a good mood but declined to answer reporters' questions.
Meanwhile, Capt Thamanat broke his silence on Thursday night after he was expelled from the party the day before. He posted a clip on Facebook saying his faction was moving to a new political home.
While refusing to give details, he said the party had been set up for some time and intended to be a main contender. "Everybody will know when I am introduced to a 'new home'," he said.
He also expressed concern about other MPs in the ruling party since his departure. "Most MPs visiting constituents got my support. The party leader and myself accounted for about 80% of their support," he claimed.
Capt Thamanat, an MP for Phayao, and his followers have 30 days to apply to join another party if they want to retain their status as MPs.
Phai Lik, one of his aides and an MP for Kamphaeng Phet, said on his Facebook account on Thursday night the group would join the Thai Economic Party.
The party will reportedly be headed by Gen Wit Devahastin na Ayudhya, a close aide of PPRP leader Gen Prawit Wongsuwon. Pol Gen Patcharawat, Gen Prawit's brother, is tipped to be made an adviser.
Khathathep Techadechruangkul, a list MP and leader of the small coalition Puea Chart Thai Party, said yesterday five small parties will continue supporting Gen Prayut.