11 July 2024

Renegade Pheu Thai MP Sarunvuth Sarunkate, of Thailand’s northern province of Uttaradit, admitted today (Saturday) that he defied the party whip, to vote against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, by abstaining in the vote on five other ministers this morning, following four days of censure debate.

The dissident MP, who was barred by the party from participating in the no-confidence debate, explained that he could not accept being forced to follow the party’s resolution on voting, even before the start of the censure debate on August 31st.

“I am a representative of the Thai people, not someone who can be led by the nose and follow the resolution as demanded by the party,” announced Sarunvuth in parliament before the voting.

The Pheu Thai MP alleged that some opposition parties had exploited the censure debate for political or financial gain, by putting the names of 3 or 4 ministers on the censure list so they could use it as a bargaining chip.

“This is a suspicious practice which I cannot accept and this isnot the first time,” said Sarunvuth.

Asked whether he is worried about retaliation by the party, the MP said that he is not concerned at all because he had his own reasons for how he voted.

He said he could not accept being forced to toe the party line after it forbade him from speaking in the debate, adding that he would like Thai politics to change for the better.

All the six ministers, including the prime minister, survived the censure debate in the voting today.