19 May 2024

Nine smaller parties in the government coalition, which earlier threatened to break away to form an independent opposition bloc, have changed tack and vowed to continue their support for the government.

The latest flip-flop leaves Mongkolkitti Suksintharanont, leader of the dissident Thai Civilized Party, as the only “lone wolf” in the much-hyped independent opposition bloc.

Most of them were supposed to meet with Mongkolkitti for a news conference to announce the formation of the independent opposition bloc.  Instead, they met with Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat Prompao, the Palang Pracharat party’s strategic chief for the northern region, who had been assigned by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to convince the nine small parties to remain loyal.

The smaller parties felt they had been ignored by Palang Pracharat, the core party in the coalition, when they were denied any ministerial portfolios or any political appointments.

They were seen holding hands with Thammarat and proclaiming their loyalty to Prime Minister Prayut after the meeting.

Palangdham Mai party leader Pichet Sathirachawan said, after the meeting, that the smaller parties could have bargained for a ministerial post, but they had not “for the sake of the country.”

Pichet claimed that the recent move by his party and four other smaller parties to form an independent opposition block was intended to send a message to the government about their demands and the response was positive.

For instance, he said he had asked for the post of the chairman of Thai Trade Representatives, but this was not possible because he would have to resign as an MP as required by the Constitution. Since he could not assume the post himself, he will send a nominee to hold the post, said Pichet.

Thammanat, meanwhile, said that the smaller parties will be given political appointments for their support of the government.  Since the MPs are reluctant to relinquish their MP status, they will send their nominees to assume those posts on their behalf as well, he added.

He expected the cabinet to endorse another batch of political appointees from the smaller parties at its meeting on August 20th.

Meanwhile, the cabinet today approved a host of political appointees attached to different ministries, apparently to satisfy the ex-MPs and close associates of the four main coalition parties, namely Palang Pracharat, Democrat, Bhumjaithai Thai and Chart Thai Pattana.