11 July 2024

Thailand’s Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat Prompao, a controversial politician who was recently elected as the ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP)’s new secretary-general, said today (Monday) that the party will nominate the country’s current prime minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, as the country’s leader again, if the party wins the next general election.

“In the future, if the party gets to set up a government, we will nominate Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha again. The country’s situation is not normal. It is rather like wartime. No one else is more appropriate than him,” said Capt. Thammanat at a PPRP meeting today, the first he has attended in his new capacity.

He said a lot is to be done and this government only has two more years before the next general election, adding that efforts have already been made in terms of the economy, society, politics and the unity of the people.

The minister, who has become an influential figure within the PPRP, helped broker relations between the party and the much smaller parties in the governing coalition. He also helped to campaign for votes in the northern and southern parts of the country, with much success.

He was, however, convicted by Australia’s New South Wales District Court for drug trafficking and spent four years prison in the 1990’s in Sydney.

Despite his notoriety, Thammanat has proven to be quite successful in his political career. He survived two no-confidence motions, in 2020 and earlier this year and, in a predictable but shocking decision, in May he was cleared to remain in office, despite his drug conviction, by the Constitutional Court, which justified the ruling by saying that he had been convicted in a different jurisdiction.

Mr. Prayut won his second term as prime minister in 2019, without contesting an election, after having been nominated by the newly formed PPRP, and receiving overwhelming support in Parliament, thanks to the rubber-stamp of the non-elected Senate.

Capt. Thammanat added he’s “not angry” at Seripisut Temiyavet, leader of opposition Seri Ruam Thai Party, who is seeking a police charge, at the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, over the 3.2kg of heroin Thammanat was convicted of trying to smuggle into Australia, saying he has already gone through all the necessary checks and balances over the past two years.