Controversial MP Thamanat Prompow has shrugged off reports Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will get the required support from 260 MPs to avoid a censure, saying no-one in the Setthakij Thai Party (Thai Economic Party) would vote for him.
The Phayao MP, who recently joined Setthakij Thai, was speaking on Tuesday whe he led party MPs to Tha Rue Klong Toey port community and handed out relief packages to residents hit by the Covid-19 outbreak.
It was his first public foray since being expelled from the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) last month.
The former PPRP secretary-general and 20 other MPs of his faction were ousted from the party at a meeting on Jan 19.
TV actress Arisara “Due’’ Thongborisut accompanied Capt Thamanat during the visit. It has been floated she may become the party’s spokeswoman.
Capt Thamanat said Setthakij Thai would hold a general assembly by the end of this month to select a leader and executive board. Setthakij Thai was set up on April 7, 2020, according to the Election Commission website.
He also said Gen Wit Devahastin na Ayudhya had applied for membership of Setthakij Thai. Whether the general would take the helm of the party would be decided by the general assembly, he said.
Gen Wit is reported to be close to PPRP leader and Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon.
He said Setthakij Thai would field candidates in all 400 constituencies at the next general election. The party would select candidates that were acceptable to voters in the electorates.
He was confident that all 18 MPs in the party who won at the previous election would be re-elected. He expected to also win seats in other constituencies.
The party was ready to unveil its candidate for the post of prime minister, but he could not reveal who at this time.
He earlier said the party’s candidate for the premiership must have a "matching chemistry" and be somebody he could work with.
He said the Setthakij Thai was an independent party that did not rely on the government or the opposition for support. In parliament, the party would put the good of the people above government proposals. If projects did not benefit the people, the party would not vote for them.
Asked if the party would side with Gen Prayut during the next no confidence debate, Capt Thamanat said Setthakij had made it clear it would side with the public. If there was evidence substantiating allegations that cabinet ministers had caused damage to the country, Setthakij Thai MPs would vote against them. It would decied on a case-by-case basis.
Asked whether the necessary 260 MPs would support the prime minister, Capt Thamanat replied, “260 votes? Is that a dream? I don't blame anyone for coming up with this figure. Anyone can count votes. However, I am sure Setthakij Thai is not included in that figure."
Since leaving PPRP, he had not talked with Gen Prawit, Capt Thamanat said.
On Feb 14, Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said in an intervew with Prachachart that he had a list of 260 votes of support and often checked it. He said his Bhumjaithai Party was part of the coalition and must support the government.