The house that 'Rambo Isan' built
Ruam Thai Sang Chart could serve as PM's new home if he leaves PPRP
Ruam Thai Sang Chart, the party which has pledged to nominate Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha as its sole prime ministerial candidate in the next elections, promises to be a magnet of big names in politics, said PM's close aide Seksakol "Rambo Isan" Atthawong.
The party reported a new development yesterday when Mr Seksakol said the party will announce its board next month and that it will be joined by high-profile politicians.
Mr Seksakol said the executives hold impressive credentials and the party will be a melting pot of parties and groups which support Gen Prayut's return as premier after the next general elections.
He said Pirapan Salirathavibhaga, adviser to the prime minister and the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) leader, will likely lead Ruam Thai Sang Chart (United Thais to Build the Nation).
It is still unclear if Gen Prayut will end up as party leader although the party will definitely nominate him as its sole candidate.
Mr Seksakol added Mr Pirapan has been advising the Ruam Thai Sang Chart in an informal capacity.
Former national police chief Chakthip Chaijinda is also a party adviser. However, he cannot assume an active role in any party as he is legally required to take a break from politics for two years after leaving the Senate. His break will end in September.
Ruam Thai Sang Chart is also expected to attract Akanat Prompan, a former core leader of the now-defunct People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) protest movement which sought the ouster of the Pheu Thai Party-led government between 2013 and 2014.
Mr Akanat is the son of Suthep Thaugsuban, the PDRC leader and co-founder of the Action Coalition for Thailand Party (ACT).
Small parties with prominent politicians are also looking to band together with Ruam Thai Sang Chart.
They include the Thai Local Power Party led by Chatchawal Kong-udom and a group belonging to Col Suchart Chantharachotikul, who were Gen Prayut's classmates at the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School.
The Suchart group earlier defected from the PPRP to the Kla Party and has planned to be part of Ruam Thai Sang Chart.
"It is a coming together of those whose stand is to support Gen Prayut to carry on as prime minister," Mr Seksakol said.
However, he declined to say if former top brass in the army will back the party. "All I can say is we will have respected senior figures at the ready the help (the party)," he added. As for the party's financial sources, Mr Seksakol said the matter was in hand. "The 'banana orchard' is bearing fruit. There will be someone to take care of it," he said.
Mr Seksakol set up the party last year should he need it to drive a political cause. The name resonates with Gen Prayut's goal of seeing national unity and progress.
Gen Prayut's aide said he had picked up early signs the prime minister might be betrayed. Certain politicians plotted to overthrow Gen Prayut from power in the non-confidence debate in September last year. Mr Seksakol was referring to politicians under the wing of former PPRP secretary-general Thamanat Prompow, who conspired to cast censure votes against Gen Prayut.
The premier managed to survive the motion and went on to sack Capt Thamanat as deputy agriculture minister while Capt Thamanat and his faction have since been expelled from the PPRP. Mr Seksakol, who also resigned as a PPRP member, said the internal strife has plagued the ruling party led by Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon who is Gen Prayut's respected brother-in-arms.
There was also no guarantee that the PPRP will back Gen Prayut as prime minister after the next poll. Or, it might not nominate Gen Prayut as its sole prime ministerial candidate. "It may well turn out that the PPRP has second and third candidates up its sleeve. When it comes time to vote for a prime minister in parliament, the party might nominate someone other than Gen Prayut," he said.
"That's why I have to prepare a way out for Gen Prayut. I won't let anyone pressure Gen Prayut, who is in real danger of being stabbed in the back as we speak," he said. The Ruam Thai Sang Chart will hold its first assembly next month to pick its executives. "This is a new home I helped build for Gen Prayut," he added.