21 ex-PPRP MPs seek seats on govt's side

21 ex-PPRP MPs seek seats on govt's side

A group of 21 MPs expelled from the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) for going rogue have asked to be seated on the government side, said deputy chief government whip Chinnaworn Boonyakiat.

Mr Chinnaworn, a Democrat MP for Nakhon Si Thammarat, said the expelled MPs, led by former PPRP secretary-general Thamanat Prompow, still retain their status and can attend House meetings.

He said the group has informed him that they prefer to be seated with government MPs.

The Democrat MP attempted to allay concerns about the collapse of a House meeting in the wake of divisions in the ruling party, by saying government whips will work hard to ensure everything functions.

Several House meetings were abruptly adjourned last year due to a lack of quorum. The 21 MPs were expelled from the PPRP last week.

Mr Chinnaworn said government whips were planning to meet on Monday to discuss the quorum issue and the general debate being sought by opposition parties.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam yesterday said two amendment bills related to a new election system were expected to be submitted to the cabinet for consideration on Monday.

He said the government-sponsored bills will be deliberated along with other versions submitted to the House by the government and opposition camps, and the first reading is expected to take one day.

Mr Wissanu said the scrutiny process for the proposed amendments should be completed by July.

Meanwhile, PPRP member Ruangkrai Leekitwattana has decided to leave the party, saying he wants the freedom to look into the performance of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his cabinet ministers.

He said he has prepared his resignation letter and it will be submitted to the party on Monday.

Mr Ruangkrai said he worked with the ruling party for eight months, serving on the extraordinary House committee on budget bill scrutiny and examining the performance of state officials and political parties.

However, he said he did not have the independence he needed to look into Gen Prayut's controversial eight-year tenure and decided to quit the party to work independently.

Sodsri Sattayatham, another PPRP member, has reportedly resigned from the party, citing personal reasons.

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