PM Prayut’s advisor named leader of new party

A veteran politician and advisor to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was today appointed leader of Ruam Thai Sang Chart, a newly-formed political party which is seen as a political vehicle for the Thai leader to fight in the next general elections.

Pirapan Salirathavibhaga, a former justice minister, said his party hopes to dominate the southern region in the elections.  The region has been a political stronghold of the Democrat Party to which Pirapan once belonged.

Pirapan declined to name his party’s potential candidates for the post of prime minister. “We will look for people who share our political objectives based on the principle of working for the nation, the religion, the monarchy and the people,” he said.

Pirapan’s close ties with Prime Minister Prayut has given rise to speculation that Ruam Thai Sang Chart (meaning uniting Thai people for the country) is one of the political vehicles to carry the incumbent leader through the next elections.  The party was originally formed by politicians close to the prime minister.

Observers believe that there is a fallout between Prayut and Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan who is also leader of Palang Pracharath Party which is a core member of the ruling coalition.  Prayut was brought to power with the support of the party which named him as its prime minister candidate in the last elections.

While Pirapan was evasive on the issue, a senior member of the Ruam Thai Sang Chart, Pongphol Adireksarn, admitted that there is a possibility that Gen Prayut will be one of its prime minister candidates in the next elections, expected sometimes early next year.

Among members of the executive committees of the party unveiled today are several veteran politicians once associated with the Democrat Party. They include Aekkanat Promphan,  who was made its secretary general today and once a prominent member of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee which led the months-long street protests to oust the Yingluck government.


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