The Pak Nam clique in the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) pledged to stick with the PPRP for now, although its future in politics remains up in the air, faction member Sunthorn Pansaengthong said on Tuesday.
Mr Sunthorn, who is a deputy minister of agriculture and cooperatives, moved to quell rumours of Pak Nam defecting to the Bhumjaithai Party, the largest coalition partner, ahead of the next general election tentatively set for May 7 next year.
"I have to say we’re still part of the PPRP now, and the future is the future,” he told reporters in response to questions whether his faction would still be with the PPRP in the coming polls.
Announced in the Royal Gazette last Wednesday, along with two other cabinet appointments, Mr Sunthorn has been made deputy agriculture minister in what is seen as an attempt to forge stability within the PPRP and better prepare it for the next polls.
He took over as deputy agriculture minister in the quota of the Pak Nam faction, which wields political influence in Samut Prakan and was credited with handing the PPRP a clean sweep in the province in the previous election.
The Pak Nam group is deciding who will be fielded in different constituencies in the next race in Samut Prakan, where the number of constituencies will be expanding in the next polls, said Mr Sunthorn.
The deputy minister said that for him, working in politics does not necessarily mean becoming an MP, as one can do the job just as well as running the administrative organisation.
Mr Sunthorn is a former deputy chairman of Samut Prakan Provincial Administrative Organisation.
He said he had met Deputy Prime Minister and PPRP leader Prawit Wongsuwon in person and thanked the party leader for allowing him to take on the cabinet post.
Gen Prawit asked him to focus on his ministerial duty and stay with the PPRP, Mr Sunthorn said.
Meanwhile, former government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, who has also been appointed Prime Minister’s Office minister in the latest reshuffle, has been placed in charge of supervising the Government Public Relations Department and state-owned public broadcaster Mcot Plc in an order signed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.