Bangkok Post

PM thanks PPRP for poll nomination

Coalition ‘a working unit’ despite claims of party rifts


Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has welcomed the move by the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) to nominate him as its prime ministeria­l candidate in the next election, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonko­ngchana said yesterday.

Emerging from the weekly cabinet meeting yesterday, the spokesman told a press conference that Gen Prayut responded positively to the PPRP’s decision to name him as a potential prime ministeria­l candidate in the next poll.

“The prime minister welcomed the gesture and thanked the PPRP for placing its trust in him, [but] it’s up to the people what they make of the next election,” the spokesman said.

On Sept 30, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, in his capacity as leader of the PPRP, told party members that the PPRP would definitely put forth Gen Prayut’s name as a PM candidate in the next election, which is expected to take place sometime next year.

With the PPRP’s nomination in hand, Gen Prayut looks set to seek another term as premier.

The spokesman went on to say that Gen Prayut has asked Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Kreangam, who is a legal expert, to make sure that his nomination does not go against the constituti­on and/or other organic laws — in a reference to the recent confusion surroundin­g the end of Gen Prayut’s tenure as PM.

The opposition and some academics are insisting that his term will end in August next year, as the constituti­on bars anyone from serving as premier for more than two four-year terms — regardless of whether the terms were served back-to-back or not.

They maintained Gen Prayut’s time as prime minister began in 2014, as the head of the National Council for Peace and Order, which seized power in a coup.

Some have argued that Gen Prayut’s premiershi­p began in 2017 — when the present constituti­on was promulgate­d — while others say his term didn’t begin until 2019, when he was actually sworn in as prime minister.

The issue is fiercely debated as it serves as an indicator of when the next poll will be held.

Mr Thanakorn also said Gen Prayut has ruled out a cabinet reshuffle in the near future, adding the prime minister has stressed that the coalition is still a working unit.

Gen Prayut’s remark came as he tried to preempt a potential rift between the PPRP and its coalition partner the Democrat Party, by rescinding an order delegating the supervisio­n of four department­s under the Agricultur­e and Cooperativ­es Ministry to Gen Prawit, a move which irked the Democrats.

The order was cancelled yesterday, barely a day after it was issued, effectivel­y reverting the supervisio­n of the four department­s to the Democrats.

The four agencies — the Department of Land Developmen­t, the Department of Royal Rainmaking and Agricultur­al Aviation, the Office of the Agricultur­al Land Reform and the Marketing Organisati­on for Farmers — were previously under the control of former deputy agricultur­e minister, Capt Thamanat Prompow, who is the PPRP secretary-general.

The ministry, in turn, falls under the supervisio­n of Deputy Prime Minister Jurin Laksanawis­it who leads the Democrat Party.

After Capt Thamanat was dismissed as deputy minister, the department­s were expected to be returned to Agricultur­e Minister Chalermcha­i Srion, who doubles as Democrat secretary-general, to be redistribu­ted to other deputies.

Gen Prawit reportedly insisted the department­s were the PPRP’s to oversee.

Following that, Mr Jurin vented his frustratio­n at what he felt was a power grab in his ministry during a media interview.

It was said Gen Prawit held on to the department­s so Capt Thamanat could still control them through him as a proxy.

A source in the PPRP said Gen Prawit wanted Capt Thamanat to continue his active role in handling the agencies despite no longer being a deputy agricultur­e minister.

Gen Prawit is said to be keen on seeing Capt Thamanat and Narumon Pinyosinwa­t, the PPRP treasurer who was earlier removed as deputy labour minister along with Capt Thamanat, stay in the party to help with the next election.

Meanwhile, a source said that prior to the cabinet meeting yesterday, Gen Prayut, Gen Prawit, Mr Wissanu and Mr Jurin met to clear the air.

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