Opposition says PPRP weakened after Thammanat withdrawal

Members of the opposition parties do not believe that Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha will dissolve the parliament after disagreements in the ruling Palang Pracharath Party saw 21 MPs leave.

The opposition, however, believes that the pro-military party will be weakened and the cabinet could be reshuffled after the exit of Thammanat Prompao and 20 other MPs.

“I do not believe that the parliament will be dissolved,” Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn, the spokesman of the Move Forward Party, told Thai Enquirer on Thursday.

“With falling popularity, I do not believe that he would dare to do so,” he said.

Suwadee Puntpanich, the deputy spokeswoman of the Thai Sang Thai Party, told Thai Enquirer that she does not believe that Prayut “will be willing to go that easily.”

Wiroj said that normally, the survivability of a government depends on how many MPs they have in the parliament.

However, the system that was put in place by the National Council for Peace and Order, which includes so-called independent institutions and appointed senators, had significantly lowered the power of the representatives.

Even if the government lost 21 MPs, they still have 250 appointed senators and other appointees at independent institutions on their side, which means that they would still have a majority vote in parliament and the extra power on the outside so there is no need for Prayut to dissolve the parliament in a bid to get more MPs.

Nevertheless, losing 21 MPs will surely weaken the PPRP and the government according to Wiroj.

“There could also be more infighting within the party because they do not have an ideology and they only come together to put General Prayut in power so that they can reap the benefits,” he said.

He said different fractions within the PPRP will continue to find leverage against each other in order to negotiate for better positions within the party and the government.

He said the 21 MPs could also form a new party and negotiate for ministerial positions if they are to stay with the government.

PPRP deputy leader Paiboon Nititawan told reporters on Thursday that the party sacked Thammanat and 20 other MPs because they were asking for major changes to the party’s structure so its executive board with 17 members and 61 other MPs decided to let them go to avoid conflict within the party.

Suwadee said with fewer MPs, the PPRP will have to be more careful before they launch any petition or bill.

“The PPRP seems to be confident that they can keep on going but they already lost the latest by-elections in the South which could be a sign of things to come so they will have to look for new members to help them with the upcoming by-election in Bangkok and the next general election,” she said.  

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