Democrat Party says party will not leave coalition after more infighting with ruling party

Thailand’s Democrat Party said that they will not leave the coalition after the government walked back plans to install ruling party MP Thammanat Prompao to oversee the coronavirus relief efforts in Thailand’s southern provinces.

Rumors had circulated last week that the government would use Palang Pracharath MP Thammanat Prompao, who allegedly was convicted of smuggling drugs in Australia, to oversee the government’s covid coordination in several southern provinces.

The south has long been a Democrat Party stronghold but recent electoral results have seen their grip on power wane. Last month, the Democrat Party lost a seat in a by-election in Nakhon Sri Thammarat to coalition partner Palang Pracharath.

Democrat Party MPs had called for the party to leave the coalition if the government insisted on Thammanat’s appointment. The criticisms has prompted the government to walk back those plans.

“As far as we’re concerned, the matter is over as the government said that they will [allow] the southern provinces to be supervised by ministers from the Democrat Party,” said Ramate Rattanachaweng, the spokesman for the party.

Despite Ramate’s assurances, there has been some friction between the two parties since the by-election last month. Both parties have taken to press to snipe at each other’s record.

“There were members of the PPRP saying that we should not have complained about this and that we have not done anything to better the south for 30 years, these comments are inappropriate and wrong,” he told Thai Enquirer.

Meanwhile, senior members of the Democrat Party have criticized the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and said that poor decision making by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha has led Thailand to destruction.

Ramate said that while he understood the frustrations held by members of his party, the Democrats were not yet willing to walk away from the coalition.

“It has not reached that point [of leaving the coalition] and such matters cannot be decide by any single person, it must be the decision of the entire party,” he told Thai Enquirer.

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