The Palang Pracharath Party executive committee is set to meet on Thursday to decide the fate of Thammanat Prompao and whether or not to remove him from his position as party Secretary General.
It isn’t a surprising move considering that Thammanat was one of the key figures behind an attempt in September to remove Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha via a no-confidence motion.
What is surprising is that it has taken this long to reshuffle the party and perhaps points to a more divided PPRP than outsiders are aware of.
Though many may think that the conflict inside the PPRP is between Thammanat and Prayut, sources tell Thai Enquirer that it is a much deeper struggle between Prawit Wongsuwan and the prime minister.
The party, like any sinking ship, has been full of leaks for the past fortnight with many key figures inside the PPRP complaining of the instability caused by September’s disastrous putsch attempt.
Several sources inside the PPRP told Thai Enquirer that the majority of the party wants Thammanat to go (or the very least be removed from his leadership position) but they have been unable to move on the consensus because “Prawit was protecting Thammanat.”
The sources also admit that the removal of Thammanat from the leadership post is problematic for the ruling party.
It is unlikely that Thammanat would take the slight standing down and he could leave the party. If he does that means that he would likely take up to 20 MPs with him – threatening the ruling coalition government.
If Thammanat leaves he would also be a coveted free agent, a proven backdoor negotiator and shrewd campaigner that would add seats and clout to any political party (if they can stomach his past as a convicted drug dealer and turncoat).
However, if Thammant stays and Prawit gets his way, then it is likely that Prayut will form his own party ahead of the next elections. While the coalition won’t be threatened immediately, the electability of the party will go into the drain. Like it or not, Prayut is the face of this government and is a major reason for the party winning as many seats as they did. He is still popular with his base though polls show his popularity with neutrals has gone downhill due to his government’s mismanagement of the pandemic. Losing Prayut means that the PPRP will unlikely be a force in the next elections.
Whichever way the vote goes on Thursday, the one outcome that is clear is that Palang Pracharath has already lost.