Deputy Agricultural Minister Thammanat Prompao has been picked as the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP)’s secretary general, the party said on Friday.
The party released a list of 26 new executives at the PPRP’s meeting in Khon Kaen which saw the MP from Phayao replacing Prime Minister’s Office Minister Anucha Nakasai for the position.
“For things to move along smoothly, the secretary of the party and the leader of the party must get along and go in the same direction,” Somsak Thapsutin, justice minister and a senior member of key PPRP faction Sam Mitr, said after the meeting.
The move was anticipated as Thammanat is one of the trustees of PPRP leader Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwon.
During the meeting, Prawit resigned to paved way for a new executive committee but was re-elected as party leader without any other candidates.
Afterward, a new executive committee list was released which saw the number of its members lowered from 27 to 26.
Before the list was released, Anucha was nominated to retain his position as the party’s secretary general but he stepped down while the only other candidate was Thammanat.
Anucha was nominated by the Sam Mitr faction, a group of politicians who switched side from other parties to the PPRP, while Thammanat was nominated by a faction that backed Prawit to be its leader.
In the end, Thammanat was picked as the new secretary general of the party.
Thammanat and Anucha said before the meeting that they have no qualm with each other and Thammanat said that they are still “brothers”.
The party is not an “ad hoc” party and it is striving to be “stronger”, he said. It might have a lot of friction and sometime they do not agree but when it is time for election, they are always united, he added
“I will do my best,” he told reporters.
Thammanat is seen as a key figure within the military-backed PPRP. The former Pheu Thai ally switched sides in the latest election and is an influential political figure.
The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age reported in September 2019 that Thammanat had pleaded guilty and accepted a four-year minimum jail term for conspiring to import heroine from Bangkok to Bondi in Australia before he was deported.
Thammanat denied all allegations against him during a censure debate in February 2020, saying that that the 3.2 kilograms of heroin that authorities in New South Wales discovered on him was “flour”.