PM adviser choice causes stir

PM adviser choice causes stir

Trairong: May join new party with PM.
Trairong: May join new party with PM.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has appointed former deputy Democrat Party leader Trairong Suwannakhiri as his adviser amid speculation both of them may join the newly-established party, Ruam Thai Sang Chart (RTSC).

A government source said Mr Trairong was appointed by Gen Prayut on Wednesday as an adviser in charge of election campaign speeches and policies, prompting speculation about Gen Prayut's preparations for the next general election.

The source said Gen Prayut wanted Mr Trairong to liaise with the RTSC which Gen Prayut is tipped to join.

The RTSC is led by Pirapan Salirathavibhaga, a former Democrat MP, who also serves as an adviser to the prime minister.

Mr Trairong, 78, resigned from the Democrat Party on Oct 27, saying he wanted to support a new party that had ideologies he aligned with.

Mr Trairong was elected as a Democrat MP for Songkhla several times and served as a former deputy prime minister during the Abhisit Vejjajiva administration. He also served as an industry minister, a labour and social welfare minister and a deputy finance minister.

Additionally, he served as a government spokesman during the Prem Tinsulanonda government.

He was also a member of the party's advisory panel, the last post he held before his resignation after 38 years with the party.

The source said that following his resignation, Mr Trairong is also tipped to join the RTSC.

The RTSC was founded in March last year by Seksakol Atthawong, a former aide to the prime minister, to back Gen Prayut's return as premier after the next general election if he wished to do so.

Gen Prayut on Wednesday remained tight-lipped about speculation he planned to join the RTSC.

Reporters on Wednesday asked the prime minister if he would confirm rumours of his possible involvement in the new party after he was seen walking with Mr Pirapan as he attended the cabinet meeting at Government House on Tuesday.

"That's mere speculation," Gen Prayut said at the National Defence College.

He said Mr Pirapan had been with him in his capacity as PM's adviser, discussing compensation for victims of a traffic accident.

"It was part of Mr Pirapan's job. Please do not consider it as a political issue," Gen Prayut said.

On Tuesday, Mr Pirapan said the party would welcome Gen Prayut if he opted to join it.

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