Government parties battle for Songkhla and Chumphon House seats in Sunday by-elections

The Democrat and Palang Pracharat parties have been engaging in a fierce war of words over two vacant parliamentary seats, both up for grabs in by-elections in Songkhla’s Constituency 6 and Chumphon’s Constituency 1 on Sunday.

Core members of the two governing parties, who have been campaigning for their candidates, have been pulling no punches, sometimes hitting below the belt, in order to win vital support from an electorate which used to follow the Democrat party, but are now divided.

Take for example a pointed remark by Palang Pracharat MP for Ratchaburi province Pareena Kraikupt, during a campaign rally in Sadao district on Friday night. She is quoted to have said “Are pork prices too high? How about replacing the commerce minister?”

Democrat party leader Jurin Laksanawisit is both a deputy prime minister and the current commerce minister.

Deputy leader of the Democrat Party, Niphon Boonyamanee, warned that the Palang Pracharat party’s move to break into the Democrat party’s political stronghold in the south is risking the stability of the coalition government unnecessarily.

He also said that it would be pointless to remind Palang Pracharat about political etiquette, usually observed among parties in the same camp, by which they do not compete in the same constituencies.

During the election campaign in Chumphon Constituency 1 last night, Democrat MP for Nakhon Si Thammarat,Chaichana Detdecho, told the audience that some elements in the Palang Pracharat party have been attempting to unseat Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, while the Democrat party remains fully behind him.

Trairong Suwankhiri, an advisor to the Democrat Party, took to the floor during a campaign rally in Chumphon province last night and accused Palang Pracharat’s secretary-general, Thammanat Prompao, of lacking political maturity by attempting to break into the Democrat party’s political base.

He warned the Palang Pracharat party leader, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, not to be too receptive to Thammanat’s advice.

Earlier this month, former Democrat MP for Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thepthai Senpong, accused some army officers of interfering in the by-elections in favour of the Palang Pracharat party.


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