Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, the co-leader of the largest opposition party in parliament, has resigned from her post on Friday, local media reported.
Sudarat has been one of the most recognizable faces of the Pheu Thai party since former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was removed from office by the Constitutional Court and the Pheu Thai government was overthrown by the subsequent 2014 military coup.
Alongside former Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt, Sudarat led the party into the 2019 elections where for the second time in two decades, a Thaksin Shinawatra-backed party won the most number of seats but did not get to form a government because of a military-backed proxy.
Her resignation on Friday was not unexpected as many had predicted that she would resign from the post to contest Bangkok gubernatorial elections, however, it is unclear if she will still pursue the governor’s position.
Several close allies to Sudarat also submitted their resignation from the party leadership on Friday.
They were the party’s leading legal expert Pongthep Thepkanchana, party strategist Pokin Polakul, party deputy secretary-general Jirayu Huangsap, and party’s deputy chief strategist Kittiratt Na-Ranong.
It is still unclear why so many senior members of the party leadership had resigned but Sudarat has been criticized by some members of the party for its poor showing in several by-elections and for ceding ground to more progressive parties like Move Forward/Future Forward.
Sudarat expressed her thanks to her supporters and party members on Friday and said she would still continue to be in the party in a written statement.
In her statement, Sudarat said she would continue to fight with the citizens for democracy.
Calls to the party were not returned.
(Additional reporting by Erich Parpart)