Prawit determined to stay on as PPRP leader
Denies rumour of Pheu Thai merger
published : 24 May 2023 at 04:35
newspaper section: News
writer: Mongkol Bangprapa
Gen Prawit Wongsuwon, leader of the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), has rejected speculation that he will step down following the party's underwhelming election result.
The deputy prime minister told the media he had not even considered the possibility of giving up the PPRP leadership or quitting politics.
"Oh. I haven't thought about it. You must ask those who made such analyses. Ask them. Where can I go if I quit?" he said at Government House on Tuesday after the cabinet meeting.
When asked if he would turn his back on politics, he said "no".
"I have been the PPRP leader and will remain in the position," he said.
He also denied speculation that the PPRP would merge with the Pheu Thai Party.
"You ask me even though I have neither thought nor spoken about it. I haven't made any move," Gen Prawit said.
He declined to comment when reporters asked if such rumours were aimed at preventing his PPRP from forming a coalition government.
PPRP secretary-general Santi Prompat, the deputy finance minister, also rejected the rumour of a merger with Pheu Thai.
Mr Santi said it was "fake news" promoted by people with ill intentions. PPRP did not have any such idea to merge with Pheu Thai and give the support it would need to form and lead a new coalition government.
"It is not possible," he said.
Pheu Thai unofficially won 141 House seats, coming second after the Move Forward Party (MFP), which has the most MPs-elect, 152, in the May 14 general election. Bumjaithai came third with 70 seats, and the PPRP was fourth with 40 seats.
Mr Santi said that the party has never planned to let its MPs elect to join the Pheu Thai Party.
"Gen Prawit remains the PPRP leader, and party members' faith in him is unchanged," Mr Santi said.
However, when reporters asked whether the PPRP could join hands with Pheu Thai if the MFP could not form a government, he said that could be a matter for the future, but no one could require the exclusion of Gen Prawit in exchange for a partnership.
Mr Santi spoke to reporters amid reports that the PPRP had cancelled a planned press conference on Tuesday.
He said there was a misunderstanding, and the PPRP did not need to call a press conference.
On Monday evening, Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew also rejected the possibility his party could form the next government with the PPRP.