11 July 2024

Former leading members of the ruling Palang Pracharat Party have formed a new political party, Sarng Anakot Thai party, vowing not to nominate Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha as the party’s prime ministerial candidate so that he can return for another term as the prime minister.

Speaking to reporters at the formal launch of the party today (Wednesday), former finance minister Uttama Savanayana, a key founder of the party made clear that a suitable candidate for the next prime minister must be a person who is internationally recognised, able to bring Thailand out of internal conflicts and capable of running the country.

He said that the party is eyeing at 3 or 4 candidates who have such qualifications, but he declined to name names.

Regarding former deputy prime minister Somkid Jatusripitak who has been close to Uttama and former energy minister Sontirat Sonthijirawong who is another new party founder as a premier candidate, Uttama said he thinks Somkid is qualified, but noted that the party has a formal process for selecting suitable candidates for the post.

With several business executives joining the party, Uttama made clear that the main objective of the party is to revive the economy and to build a foundation for sustainable economic growth, citing the party’s mobilisation of qualified and resourceful people from various sectors and disciplines to join the party to solve all the pressing problems and achieve its goal of raising people’s quality of life.

“We are coming together today to work for the people, not for an individuals,” said Uttama, who affirmed the party will neither be in the extreme right or extreme left as it does not seek to be a part of or contribute to a deeply-entrenched political divide.

Sontirat, meanwhile, announced that, since most of the party’s founders are not professional politicians, they do not crave power for the sake of it.

Asked whether the party will, in the future, support Prayut as the next prime minister, he said:  “We are not a spare part party for Prime Minister Prayut.”

Asked which parties that the Sarng Anakot Thai Party, which translates as “building Thailand’s future”, will work with after the next election, he said the party will work with the parties which share their principles and policies.

Uttama said, however, that it is too soon to talk about joining other parties in forming a government or in choosing the next prime minister, adding that they will have to listen to the voice of the majority.

Big picture, he stressed the need for Thailand to look outward, to interact more with the international community and to look forward to what can be done to bring about prosperity in the country, sustainable economic growth and the betterment of people’s lives.

The party unveiled over a dozen of co-founders of different educational and professional backgrounds today who, according to Uttama, share an aspiration to work for the people.

The move is seen as a U-turn for both Uttima and Sontirat, who helped spearhead the efforts in forming the PPRP and push for the nomination of Prayut as the party’s prime ministerial candidate in the 2019 general elections in the first place. They quitted the party in July 2020 following an internal shakeup.