11 July 2024

Government chief whip Nirote Sunthornlekha has played down reported friction between Thailand’s Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin and Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) Secretary-General Thammanat Prompao over a recent Line group chat leak.

On Tuesday, Suchart reportedly admitted that he talked on his Line group of about eight members about his idea to conduct an opinion poll to find out why the popularity of the core government party is fading and whether it has anything to do with Thammanat, a controversial figure who was convicted by an Australian court for drug trafficking in the 1990’s but has helped PPRP win a number of by-elections.

The minister insisted that he has no hard feelings towards Thammanat for mentioning his name during the group chat and said he does not understand the motive of the person who leaked the chat on social media.

Nirote, also deputy secretary-general of Palang Pracharat Party said, however, that Suchart merely made a joke among his chat group and had no intention whatsoever to discredit Thammanat.

He maintains that the duo are on good terms, though they have not seen each other for some time.

He also said that the party’s losses in the by-elections in Songkhla and Chumphon provinces on Sunday to the Democrat party will not cause any conflict within the Palang Pracharat party.

He explained that the party decided to field candidates, fully aware that the two provinces are the Democrats’ political turf, because several MPs demanded that they contest the poll.

Several Democrat heavyweights, including party leader Jurin Laksanawisit, have accused the Palang Pracharat party of failing to observe political etiquette in contesting the by-elections.

Thammanat was assigned by the party to oversee the campaigning in the by-elections. Since the poll losses and that Line chat leak, he has been keeping a low profile and has not made any public statements.