Thamanat gives Prawit censure nod
Says all other targets need to be worried
New Setthakij Thai Party leader Capt Thamanat Prompow has hinted the party will only back Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwon in the upcoming no-confidence motion.
Speaking after being elected party leader on Friday, Capt Thamanat said the censure motion should be a cause for concern for all the targeted ministers except Gen Prawit.
Gen Prawit is said to be among ten people facing an opposition grilling in the censure debate.
The opposition plans to table a no-confidence motion against the government in parliament next week, targeting Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and nine cabinet ministers for their alleged mishandling of important issues and ethical code violations.
Capt Thamanat said Gen Prawit is not directly in charge of any ministry and as a deputy prime minister he assumes a supervisory role over a broad scope.
"We have confidence in him and he is not the type of person some media outlets understand him to be. To be honest, all of the ministers said to be the targets should have a cause for concern except Gen Prawit," he said.
When asked about the party's stance on the censure vote, he said its MPs will have to consider the allegations made against each minister first. He said the party will not take part in grilling ministers.
With 16 MPs under its wing, the party is widely seen as a crucial player in the no-confidence vote. The opposition, which currently has 208 MPs, needs to muster at least 239 votes to succeed in its no-confidence motion.
Capt Thamanat also said the party voted for the 2023 budget bill not because it agreed with everything, but the bill would be thoroughly examined in the next scrutiny stage.
He insisted that the party did not try to curry favour with the government in the hope of obtaining cabinet seats.
In the general meeting, Capt Thamanat was elected party leader as expected with Phai Lik, a Kamphaeng Phet MP, being elected secretary-general.
Capt Thamanat forced a leadership change when he along with 14 others quit the party's executive board.
Seri Ruam Thai Party leader Sereepisuth Temeeyaves accused Setthakij Thai of flip-flopping and being untrustworthy when he was asked about the no-confidence debate.
He said the motion will be lodged next Wednesday and the debate is expected to take place in early July.