Thailand: Further rumblings of internal discontent at PPRP leadership

  • Energy Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong denied that up to 50 PPRP MPs were scheduled to meet him on 30 Apr 20 to extend their moral support following rumours of an internal “coup” also seeking to oust him as PPRP secretary-general.
  • He had not talked to Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, who is also the PPRP chief strategist. Gen Prawit was also reported to be replacing Mr Uttama as the ruling party leader.
  • Several members were reported to be pushing for new executives to run the party because they felt neglected by the leadership.
  • Meanwhile, the Election Commission (EC) has been asked to investigate whether a senator has meddled in the affairs of the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), which if upheld could lead to the ruling party being dissolved, said a source.
  • The petition was filed by Ruangkrai Leekitwattana, a former member of the dissolved Thai Raksa Chart Party, targeting Gen Kanit Charnpreechaya, a senator.
  • According to Mr Ruangkrai, Gen Kanit has commented in the press suggesting he may have played a role in reported manoeuvring to topple the party leadership led by Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana. His petition calls on the EC to look into the alleged meddling by the senator, which would violate the Political Parties Act.
  • Yutthaporn Issarachai, a political scientist at Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, said senators must remain impartial and have no links with political parties. Senators meddling in party affairs would undermine the checks and balances function they are supposed to perform within the political system.
  • Questions have been raised about incumbent senators whose selection was overseen by the now-defunct National Council for Peace and Order, which organised the 2014 coup.

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