Thailand: PM brushes aside reshuffle rumours

  • The government is working to patch up internal rifts in the aftermath of last week’s censure debate amid Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s repeated denials of an imminent cabinet reshuffle.
  • Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, who also leads the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), has brushed aside claims that the coalition parties’ unity is on the rocks following the no-confidence session.
  • The reported rift stems from the decision by six PPRP MPs of the so-called Star Faction to abstain instead of backing Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, secretary-general of the Bhumjaithai Party, in the crucial vote.
  • The transport minister survived the non-confident vote 258-201 with 12 abstentions, the slimmest majority of the 10 censure-targeted ministers.
  • Half of those who abstained were Star Faction members, which was seen as having defied Gen Prawit’s directive for PPRP MPs to give equal votes to all 10 under-threat ministers.
  • The PM also commented 22 Feb 21 on the futures of those cabinet minister whose performances had been questioned during last week’s four-day no-confidence session and dismissed speculation they might be replaced.
  • The premier insisted he would not remove any ministers purely based on the result of votes at the end of the debate.
  • He said it was crucial to focus on the progress individual ministers were able to make in implementing policies. If they were making progress with assigned projects, it was only fair to let them stay on and finish them before evaluating their performances.
  • Meanwhile, four MPs of the opposition Move Forward Party have been barred from meeting their constituents in Chiang Rai and Chon Buri or taking part in any party activities after delivering votes of confidence for some cabinet ministers.

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