Several members inside the Bhumjai Thai Party have asked party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul to reconsider the party’s position within the coalition as criticisms mount over the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Anutin, in his role as DPM and the Minister of Public Health, has been one of the cabinet ministers singled out for criticism for his role in the country’s Covid-19 response.
The country has seen a record number of infections since the beginning of April with thousands dead and no end to the crisis in sight.
The country’s vaccination program has also lagged behind with the government choosing to pursue the Sinovac vaccine over more effective alternatives, a point of criticism that has gained traction in recent weeks.
“What the public doesn’t know is that the prime minister took the power to make all decisions weeks ago,” a BJT source told Thai Enquirer on Wednesday.
“So we’re basically powerless and being blamed for everything and losing political capital for no reason. This is why I am asking if it is in our best interest to align with this government ahead of the next elections.”
Anutin for his part said in past interviews that he doesn’t plan on leaving the coalition and that he was there to fix the country’s problem. It is understood that prior to the last no-confidence vote, members of the BJT asked Anutin and party godfather Newin Chidchob whether it would be prudent to leave and were shot down by both Newin and Anutin.
“The chances of BJT leaving aren’t very high but it shows that if Palang Pracharat does not do well in the next election, BJT have people inside the party who are willing to join the other side,” said Thai political analyst Arun Saronchai.
“It shows that this coalition is still fluid and the idea that BJT will immediately flock to the military-backed parties after the next election is not set in stone.”