Crack in coalition as Sam Mitr group demands key economic portfolios
With the dust is yet to settle over the election of General Prayut Chan-o-cha as the next prime minister, signs of division have emerged in the Palang Pracharat-led coalition as the influential Sam Mitr faction, at the core of the party, has reportedly reasserted their demand for the agriculture, commerce and transport portfolios, already promised to the Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties.
Bangkok MP Sira Jenjaka, a member of the Sam Mitr group, said today that the group was very concerned that they would not be able to respond to the needs of their supporters because they would not have control over these three Grade-A ministries.
He claimed that the party managed to clinch 116 House seats in the March 24th general election because the party’s policy platform, to look after the farmers, was welcomed by the farmers and the party should keep its promises to them.
Phitsanulok MP Anucha Noiwong said that the agriculture ministry, which was promised to the Democrats, should be returned to the Palang Pracharat party and the Prime Minister should hand pick the minister himself.
A well-informed party source said that the Sam Mitr group, led by Suriya Juangroongruangkit and Somsak Thepsuthin, will propose that the party’s executive committee completely revamp the cabinet seat allocation by taking the agriculture and commerce ministerial posts from the Democrats and the transport minister’s post from the Bhumjaithai party, in return for other portfolios such as education.
The Democrat party was promised one deputy prime minister’s post, three ministerial posts, for agriculture, commerce, social development and human security, and four deputy minister posts for interior, public health, transport and education.
Bhumjaithai, meanwhile, was promised the transport ministry and a few more deputy minister posts.
The source noted that the issue over the sharing of cabinet seats is far from over, even though the Prime Minister has now been elected.