Apology by the Thai prime minister was made directly to the Thai public over the unsightly bickering and wrangling that has broken out in the Palang Pracharat political party over the allocation of cabinet portfolios. The power struggle continued yesterday leading to the secretary general of the party, Sontirat Sontijirawong, conceding any claim on the position as energy minister in the new government to leading Sam Mitr member, Suriya Juangroongruangkit. It comes after a poll published this weekend showed that 92% of Thai people are already fed up with politics. A violent physical assault perpetrated on an anti junta student activist on Friday by men with sticks is also deeply concerning even to the junta and pro military stalwarts in the current regime. 

The Thai prime minister issued what appeared to be frank and humble apology on Monday for the internal wranglings and bickering of the political party and coalition that he is in the process of working with to form a new Thai government. Prayut Chan-ocha also alluded to the need for political reform in order to prevent the ‘old solutions’ to political deadlock or stalemate in Thailand. Most commentators interpret this to mean military intervention or a coup.

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On Monday, the Thai prime minister issued a frank and humble apology to the Thai public over ongoing bickering and wrangling that has broken out in the Palang Pracharat party at the core of his proposed coalition government of up to 20 parties. General Prayut said that political reform was needed if Thailand was to avoid the ‘old solutions’ to political deadlock. This is thought by most observers to refer to military intervention or a coup. His intervention comes as a weekend opinion poll found that 92% of Thai people are already disenchanted with the Thai politics and 60% reject the idea of the junta leader and now newly elected PM, taking on the role of party leader of the Palang Pracharat political party. This follows a series of bitter disputes within the newly elected Thai parliament and recent wrangling both within the coalition and the Palang Pracharat party over the allocation of ministries in the new cabinet being finalised by the prime minister. Yesterday, the Sam Mitr group, an influential faction within the Palang Pracharat party appeared to force the party’s secretary general to relinquish his claim to the energy ministry in the new government by threatening to remove him from his current role.

Thailand’s prime minister this week came out and apologised to the Thai public for the wrangling and bickering within the Palang Pracharat party which nominated him as prime minister. It comes at a time when the newly elected Thai prime mInister is still finalising his cabinet which he has indicated will be announced in two weeks time.

Frank and humble apology from prime minister

The frank and humble apology came from the Thai PM days after a nationwide opinion poll in Thailand which showed that 92% of Thai people are already fed up with politics in the country. Thailand’s new parliament only opened at the end of May. Since then, there has been a prevailing climate of bitter disputes between a growing variety of factions and very little consensus both within the parliament itself and the proposed governing coalition of up to 20 political parties that will be needed by the new government to forward ts political agenda..

Thailand’s leader expresses unease with current political wranglings and environment

A message was issued this Monday on behalf of General Prayut. It read: ‘The prime minister feels uneasy and must apologise to fellow people on behalf of the Palang Pracharath Party, as the person it nominated as the prime minister.’

Speaking directly to the Thai public already fed up with politics after parliament opening in May

The prime minister’s message appeared to appeal directly to the Thai public. He tried to give an understanding or explanation for the disputes that have broken out within the newly formed Palang Pracharat political party at the core of a coalition that nominated and elected him to the position of prime minister. Palang Pracharat did surprisingly well in the March 24th election. ‘There are some management issues in the party because it is newly established. Members come from many groups in many fields, and are determined to do their best in performing their duties as house representatives and executive duties in the cabinet.’

Need for the public to have confidence in the government at a time of economic challenges

The prime minister explained that it was not possible to please everyone but emphasised the need to make sure that the Thai public can have confidence in the new government that is being formed to take on their affairs. This includes a very pressing economic situation.

Deputy prime minister blames delay in forming new government for economic decline

On Thursday, at the opening of a fair in Bangkok, the deputy prime minister for the economy, Somkid Jatusripitak, suggested that the delay in putting the new government in place was a factor in the deterioration of the economy. He also suggested the US China trade spat was a downward pull on all world economies at this time. 

Prime minister warns about ‘old solutions’ that nobody wants and calls for reform of politics

In his statement on Monday, the Thai prime minister promised that his new government would press ahead with political reform in Thailand. He promised that the past political problems would not occur again and that the government would dedicate itself to serving Thailand’s citizens first and foremost. The prime minister underlined, however, the need for the elected bodies put in place such as the house of representatives, the government and the opposition to be able to work smoothly. The prime minister’s also had a warning to the political parties currently engaged in the country’s affairs. His statement read: The government and coalition parties will start political reform to prevent the recurrence of the same political problems, which will lead to the same old solutions which no one wants.’

Most observers in Thailand agree that by ‘old solutions’ the newly PM was referring to Thailand’s long history of military interventions or coups to resolve political deadlock in the country.

Prayut had been considering a role as leader of Palang Pracharat to guide his government

The prime minister had previously been reported to be considering taking on the role of leader of the Palang Pracharat party so as to be able to negotiate political situations in the lower house. There are some who warn against the legal perils of this course of action. It is thought that among these is the prime minister’s trusted deputy prime minister on legal matters Wissanu Krea-ngam.

Sam Mitr or ‘three allies’ group emerge as a powerful force within Palang Pracharat

The latest controversy to beset the Palang Pracharat party over the proposed new government focuses on the Sam Mitr group or ‘three allies’ who are thought to be influential and behind the electoral success of the new party in key areas of the country. One source this week suggested that the Sam Mitr group accounted for 30 MPs within the Palamg Pracharat party.

It is has been announced overnight on Tuesday morning that the Palang Pracharat party secretary general had acquiesced to the demand from the Sam Mitr group that its leader will be accorded the role as energy minister in the new government.

Secretary general of Palang Pracharat backs down on claim to energy portfolio in Thai cabinet

The argument seemed to focus around the fate of the energy portfolio in the next government. The leader of the Sam Mitr groups within the party, Suriya Juangroongruangkit, is thought to have his heart set on the position. Thailand’s current energy minster is Siri Jirapongphan but it is understood that the role in government was due to be handed to the secretary general of the party, Sontirat Sontijirawong. On Tuesday, he issued statement on the controversy following the move against him yesterday: ‘I have no desire for and will not accept the post of energy minister. I hope things will turn out fine so we can work together for the good of the country.’ 

Sam Mitr leader had been earmarked for industry but wanted to be energy minister

It is understood that Suriya Juangroongruangkit had been earmarked for the industry portfolio in the new cabinet line up. On Saturday, a press conference given by Anucha Nakasai, a key member of the Sam Mitr group, raised eyebrows. He is understood to have been allocated a deputy ministry at the Ministry of Commerce in the new cabinet but suggested he would prefer to give up the post if it would help ensure his colleague was made energy minister.

Bickering saw move against Palang Pracharat secretary general on Monday

The internal bickering within the party had brought about the move taken against the secretary general of the Palang Pracharat party who has been blamed for the tensions. The move was led by the Sam Mitr group against Sontirat Sontijirawong. The same group also yesterday called on the Thai prime minister to keep the allocation of cabinet seats that they say was agreed on June 11th and in which their leader was to take on the coveted role. 

Attack on an anti junta activist a matter of serious concern even among military stalwarts

A controversy erupted over the weekend also in relation to a democratic rights activist who was violently beaten by sinister actors last week. It was the second time the man had been targeted for attack. The vicious assault on Sirawith Seritiwat, known for his anti coup and junta campaign in opposition to the involvement of the Thai military in politics, has caused grave disquiet on all sides of the political divide. It has prompted Thailand’s security supremo, deputy prime minister Prawit Wongsuwan, last week to call on the Thai police to quickly apprehend the suspects. A Thai senator, allied with the pro junta block in parliament, has also warned of the potential political fallout the attack on the man. He said that the matter was a serious one that should be tackled by the government urgently. The senator warned that the duty of parliament was to ensure that matters which concern society were resolved within its chambers and not on the streets.

Mother of assault victim says men with sticks set upon him outside his home on Friday

The mother of the 27 year old Seritiwat, known in Thailand for his activism in student politics, told the AFP news agency that her son was attacked on Friday morning last by men carrying sticks. She dismissed unfounded rumors that the attack on the young man was linked to unpaid debts. Her son was left bloodied and with a blood clot in one eye which has caused doctors to worry for the young man’s sight. ‘They broke his nose and eye socket, causing a clot to one of his eyes,’ Patnaree Chankij told the news agency. There have been a number of such incidents this year, including the firing of car owned by an anti junta activist. No arrests have been made so far.

Opinion poll also shows that 60% area against Prayut becoming a political player

The survey into the Thai public’s opinion on politics over the weekend was conducted by Super Poll. The survey found that 67% of Thai people were worried about the political environment that had developed. Significantly, nearly 60% though the idea of the prime minister taking up the role as leader of the main political party at the core of the government was a bad idea. The poll’s sample was nearly 1,700 Thai citizens from all regions of the country and was conducted between June 20th and June 29th.

 

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