Thammanat Prompao, a controversial and powerful political figure inside the ruling Palang Pracharat Party, is set to leave the ruling party, several sources inside the government told Thai Enquirer on Wednesday.
If he is to leave the ruling party, the former Deputy Agricultural Minister could take up to 21 ruling party MPs with him, destabilizing the current governing coalition.
Thammanat is a key power broker behind the scenes and has long been Palang Pracharat’s chief enforcer and the main negotiator with local constituencies.
The one-time convicted drug dealer has courted controversy during his time in the current parliament both for his outspokenness and his willingness to take on challengers both inside and outside his party.
His dealings have drawn the ire of the current prime minister Prayut Chan-ocha and a public spat between the two resulted in Thammanat losing his committee appointments and his seat as deputy minister late last year.
According to sources within the PPRP, Thammanat told the party he was unhappy and felt he was being blamed for the party’s poor showing in two by-elections last Sunday.
Thammanat, according to sources, felt he was being blamed by the prime minister for the losses and felt now was the right time to leave with his allies.
Thai Enquirer understands that there has been no formal request to leave, yet.
However, his departure could severely destabilize the ruling coalition and a house dissolution in the near future may not be out of the question.
Calls to the PPRP spokesperson was not immediately answered.