PPRP, UTN 'like one party', says Prawit

PPRP, UTN 'like one party', says Prawit

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, centre, during a visit to Kamphaeng Phet province on Nov 21. (Government House photo)
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, centre, during a visit to Kamphaeng Phet province on Nov 21. (Government House photo)

Palang Pracharath leader Prawit Wongsuwon denied reports he was worried by the number of PPRP MPs considering defecting to the United Thai Nation (Ruam Thai Sang Chart) Party, saying the two were "like one party".

"Who said that? I am not under any stress at all. No MPs are being taken away," the deputy prime minister said in response to reporters' questions on Monday.

The reports had it that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who was PPRP's successful outsider nomination after the last elections, is linking up with UTN, which is led by Pirapan Salirathavibhaga. It is said he will be its candidate for prime minister after the general election, and many PPRP MPs were likely to follow him to the new party.

On reports of PPRP MPs jumping to UTN, Gen Prawit said, "That's all right. We are like the same party." But he gave no clear answer when asked whether it could be said PPRP and UTN would be politically allied.

"Gen Prayut and I are like brothers. If he wants to go, just go. No problem with me," Gen Prawit said.

With a smile, Gen Prawit said that he and Gen Prayut parting ways did not mean they had broken up.

"We have been together for 40-50 years. How can we break up? You keep asking this every day. People should know that we have no conflict. I do not have a conflict with anyone," he said.

Gen Prawit said he did not feel left out. "I still have 200-300 party members who will stay and work together. PPRP must remain a core party of the country," he said.

He refused to confirm Gen Prawit would definitely join UTN. "I don't know. Go ask him," he said.

Gen Prawit was confident that Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, the digital economy and society (DES) minister, would remain with PPRP.

Mr Chaiwut left people guessing whether he would also join UTN after he last week resigned as a PPRP  party-list MP, but remains as deputy party leader and DES minister.

"He will not go anywhere," said Gen Prawit, gesturing towards Mr Chaiwut who was by his side waiting to see him off in a waiting car. "Only the media said he would move to another party," he added.

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