Deputy PPRP leader Paiboon Nititawan says ouster of Thammanat, dissident MPs necessary
Thailand’s ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) has decided to expel its controversial secretary-general, Thammanat Prompao, and 20 MPs loyal to him because they made a demand which the party found to be unacceptable and which may damage the party if it acquiesced, PPRP Deputy Leader Paiboon Nititawan told a news conference this morning.
Paiboon said the group had demanded a total revamp of the party’s structure, while threatening that the party would be in trouble if their demand was not met.
The demand was submitted to PPRP Leader Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan, who is also a deputy prime minister. Prawit then called an urgent meeting of the party’s executive committee, at the Five Provinces Bordering Forest Preservation Foundation, yesterday evening.
Paiboon said the executive committee discussed the Thammanat group’s demand in a closed-door session and agreed that it was not acceptable, because what the group wants would seriously affect the party’s stability, unity and ideological principles.
He said that the dissident group refused to change their position, adding that the committee felt that the move was a serious violation and that those involved should be expelled from the party, in accordance with Party Regulation 54 (5).
Paiboon said that 61 MPs were called to meet with the 17 executive committee members, to be informed of the committee’s views on the matter and to vote on the dismissal resolution.
63 out of 78 executive committee members and MPs voted to endorse the resolution to expel Thammanat and the 20 other MPs from the party with immediate effect, said Paiboon, adding that Gen. Prawit was not present when the vote was taken.
The party will next inform the Election Commission of its decision.
Paiboon insisted that the sacking of the group was necessary to maintain party stability, unity and its principles, adding that, from now on, the party will be more stable, even with fewer MPs in parliament, with an improved image and no more serious internal conflict.
“It is about time to clean up the mess which has dogged the party for a long time, before it gets out of control,” said the deputy leader, as he insisted that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has nothing to do with this affair because he is not a party member.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha personally confirmed today (Thursday) that he is not involved in the internal affairs of the PPRP and that it is a matter for the leaders and executives of the party, adding that, as prime minister, he cannot declare whom he likes or dislikes, so he cannot say who is a good person or not. A person’s behaviour speaks for itself, he said.
Denying any plans for a cabinet reshuffle or a House dissolution in the near future, Gen. Prayut also defended his path to power, saying that his second term as prime minister is in accordance with the Constitution and that he was nominated by the party which gained the most votes in the 2019 general election, despite not being directly elected by the people. So, to say that the Senate has helped him prolong his hold on power is a distortion, he claimed.
Thammanat and then-deputy labour ministry Narumon Pinyosinwat were removed from their ministerial posts and therefore the cabinet in September 2021. The proposed restructuring of the party was widely believed so that Thammamat and his group can regain ministerial seats.