Former Palang Pracharat party leader and three other cabinet ministers resign from ruling party

The former party leader of Thailand’s ruling party and three other senior officials resigned from the party on Thursday signalling a possible cabinet shake up and the consolidation of power by the army wing of the ruling party.

The four resignations from the Palang Pracharat Party, of which three are ministers, include;

  1. Uttama Savanayana, Minister of Finance, Deputy Prime Minister and Former Party Leader
  2. Sontirat Sontijirawong, Minister of Energy 
  3. Suvit Maesincee, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovations
  4. Kobsak Pootrakool, deputy secretary-general to the prime minister

Uttama was defeated in a party leadership contest earlier this month by General Prawit Wongsuwan who masterminded the 2014 coup alongside Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha.

Uttama’s resignation will mean that Prawit has consolidated his hold on power and will now rule the party unopposed.

Party insiders confirmed to Thai Enquirer the resignations and said that future cabinet reshuffles will be up to the prime minister.

“It will be up to the Prime Minister how he wants to reshuffle the cabinet, it is out of our hand,” Deputy Party Leader Paibul Nititawan told Thai Enquirer. “As for the party, we will discuss things internally.”

The Prime Minister has previously denied that internal party problems would affect his decisions over personnel but with Uttama’s resignation, Prayut’s hands may be forced in who he can or cannot select.

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