Uttama, Sontirat back in fold
published : 31 Jan 2023 at 05:09
newspaper section: News
writer: Aekarach Sattaburuth
Former Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) leader Uttama Savanayana and former secretary-general Sontirat Sontijirawong on Monday made their return to the ruling party with open arms from its current leader Prawit Wongsuwon.
A red carpet welcome was extended to Mr Uttama, Mr Sontirat and Wit Devahastin na Ayudhya, former leader of the Ruam Phaen Din Party, at the PPRP head office on Monday.
They were immediately met by deputy party leader Wirat Rattanasate and Sakoltee Phattiyakul, head of the party's Bangkok election team, before being accompanied to Gen Prawit's office.
Gen Prawit, who is also deputy prime minister, personally signed and approved their membership registration forms.
Afterwards, Gen Prawit took the party's top executives to announce the three politicians' induction as PPRP members.
Gen Prawit said the party is honoured to welcome Gen Wit and the return of Mr Uttama and Mr Sontirat.
Mr Uttama will be in charge of the PPRP's economic affairs, and Mr Sontirat of both the economic and political issues, while Gen Wit will assist with running the party.
Gen Prawit said Mingkwan Sangsuwan, former leader of the New Economics Party and now PPRP member, will also help with economic policy.
Mr Mingkwan was thought to have been snubbed by the party after he declared earlier that PPRP was naming him as its prime ministerial candidate in the next poll. The party has named Gen Prawit its PM candidate.
He said on Monday he has no plan to appoint anyone as the party's economic chief, saying there is plenty of other work for everyone. Mr Uttama told the media on Monday that his return is to forge unity for the country.
He admitted that when he and three other members of the See Gumarn (Four Boys) clique left the PPRP in 2020, they were experiencing differences within the party. However, he would not go so far as to call it a conflict, he said.
Mr Uttama, former finance minister, and Mr Sontirat, former energy minister, are among the PPRP's founding members. Intense power struggles in the PPRP saw the clique bow out of the ruling party.