Prawit Wongsuwan, seen as one of the masterminds behind the 2014 coup and a former military general, will be voted in as the leader of Thailand’s ruling Palang Pracharath Party, local media and party insiders said on Thursday.
Prawit has survived several scandals since 2014 including being cleared of wrongdoing by an anti-graft agency over the possession of 22 luxury watches worth over $ 1 million. His defence was that they were all borrowed.
According to party insiders, Prawit will become the new leader of the party and replace outgoing party head and finance minister Uttama Savanayana.
“Uttama was ineffective and did not listen to the concerns of the party and many party members feel that Prawit will look after their interests more,” a senior Palang Pracharath official told Thai Enquirer.
According to local media, Prawit will serve for a six-month term with Anucha Nakhasai serving as party secretary. Most other leadership positions will remain the same.
“It is a done deal as far as the party is concerned, we’re just waiting for the formality of the internal election,” the source said.
As head of the country’s ruling party for the next six months, Prawit will play a major part in seeing the disbursement of a 1.9 trillion baht budget intended for coronavirus relief.
Members of the opposition parties accuse the ruling party of reshuffling their leadership before the fund disbursement to see a larger portion of the spoils divided.