RTSC opens door for Prayut

RTSC opens door for Prayut

He's welcome if he defects, says Pirapan

Ruam Thai Sang Chart (RTSC) would welcome Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha if he decided to leave the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), RTSC leader Pirapan Salirathavibhaga said yesterday.

Mr Pirapan is also an adviser to the prime minister, but he said he did not know what Gen Prayut planned to do. There has been no discussion with the prime minister about a possible move. As of now, Gen Prayut is tied up with Apec summit preparations, he said.

It was a subject that only Gen Prayut himself could address, the RTSC leader said. The prime minister spoke with him only about work.

He said Gen Prayut's political participation would benefit any party he joined.

Mr Pirapan was responding to a reporter's question on speculation that Gen Prayut may move to the RTSC and whether it would be considered good news.

He declined to answer when asked whether Gen Prayut was popular in all regions, saying only that he did not pay attention to political popularity ratings.

"If Gen Prayut wanted to work with Ruam Thai Sang Chart, the party would welcome him," he said.

Mr Pirapan declined to say if Gen Prayut would be made leader if he joined the RTSC, saying it was too early to talk about it as Gen Prayut has not made a decision on whether to join the party.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said on Monday he would not try to stop Gen Prayut from leaving the PPRP or take some of its MPs with him.

Gen Prawit was responding to media questions at Government House about rumours that Gen Prayut would move to the RTSC. They asked if Gen Prawit had discussed the issue with Gen Prayut.

Mr Pirapan was seen walking alongside Gen Prayut to attend the weekly cabinet meeting yesterday morning. Mr Pirapan had not previously been seen walking near Gen Prayut at such meetings.

This buoyed speculation that Gen Prayut may leave the PPRP, leader of the government coalition, and join the RTSC.

Gen Prayut did not answer questions about Gen Prawit's remarks. He only smiled as he greeted reporters before entering the meeting.

Asked about the party's candidate for prime minister, PPRP secretary-general Santi Prompat, also its deputy finance minister, said the matter rested with senior party figures and the party executive.

Asked if the party had any plan if Gen Prayut moved to RTSC, Mr Santi said the party was politically stable and had no work problems.

Mr Santi shrugged off speculation some party MPs may also defect.

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