Analysis: The Palang Pracharat experiment is over

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Thailand is headed for a political crisis with the ruling party unwilling to call a house dissolution while coalition partners and opposition parties are not willing to move forward with matters of governance as the current government assumes a lame duck stance.

Since expelling 21 members of their own party, a faction led by politically powerful MP Thammanat Prompao, earlier this year, the ruling Palang Pracharat Party has been unable to find any cohesion internally with want away factions united only by loyalty to the current prime minister and their fear of party leader General Prawit Wongsuwan.

But with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha weary of his former compatriot Prawit and with rumors that he has already has his allies getting up a smaller party, both coalition partners and opposition parties have sensed the writing on the wall for this government.

This has manifested intself in several ways. The largest opposition party, the Thaksin-backed, Pheu Thai Party has boycotted parliamentary and committee meetings leading to a lack of quorum and halting the government it is track.

“We wanted the Prime Minister to dissolve the parliament and return the power back to the Thai people,” Julapun Amornvivat, a member of parliament for the Pheu Thai Party, told Thai Enquirer about the tactics.

They are not the only party taking extreme measures to try and engender an early house dissolution.

On Tuesday, it emerged that members of the Bhumjai Thai Party, a steadfast coalition ally, was boycotting cabinet meetings to protest the rise of commuter prices. But according to party insiders, factions within BJT who have long distrusted Prawit and Prayut on both personal and ideological grounds were pushing party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Anuthin Charnvirakul to ask the prime minister for early polls.

“We have tolerated Prayut long enough and we joined this government on the advice of K Anutin. But the way they’ve treated us during this pandemic, it is time to see where they stand during elections,” a insider at BJT told Thai Enquirer on condition of anonymity.

The Democrat Party of Thailand, another coalition ally to the ruling PPRP, also has been wracked by internal turmoil.

Many members within Thailand’s oldest political party are resentful of the PPRP and their tactics. With many democracy-minded MPs within the party already weary of their alliance with Prayut, the one time dictator, the MPs are pushing Democracy Leader Jurin Laksanawisit to leave the coalition.

“We hold the trump card, if we leave this coalition now the government will need to call polls,” a senior Democrat MP told Thai Enquirer.

However, according to several sources inside the Democrat Party, it seems that Jurin is unwilling to break away from the government at this time with key agenda for the Democrat, who run the commerce ministry, still not completed.

Sources inside the PPRP also suggest that Prayut is unwilling to call early polls until his new party is set up. Not only has the electability of the PPRP reached an all time low due to infighting and government mismanagement but with factions looking to break away from the party the moment polls are called, it looks like the PPRP experiment is over.


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