Prayut denied connection with new parties while Prawit said they are allies

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Prime Minister Prayut Chan o-cha on Tuesday denied the speculation that the new Ruam Thai Sang Chart Party was his backup party while Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said that another new party, Ruam Phan Din (Thailand Together Party), is an ally of the government.

“I cannot meet with anyone? He just came to inform me about the appointment for him to be the head of a committee that was following up on people’s grievances,” Prayut told reporters when asked about his latest meeting with Former Justice Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga.

Pirapan is one of Prayut’s advisers who is expected to become the new leader of the Ruam Thai Sang Chart Party when the party is officially relaunched tomorrow (August 3).

The Ruam Thai Sang Chart Party was created by Seksakol Atthawong, a former Vice Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office and a close aide of Prayut. The party was seen as a backup party for Prayut in case the ruling PPRP decided to nominate someone else as its candidate for the premier position at the next election.

Seksakol resigned from his position in April following the leak of an audio clip of him asking to borrow 15 million baht for a political campaign which raised questions of possible electoral fraud. He later resigned from the Ruam Thai Sang Chart Party.

The party was later joined by former MPs from the Democrat Party including Witthaya Kaewparadai and Ekkanat Phromphan and with a new logo and office, the party is ready to launch its campaign for the next general election.

Prayut insisted on Tuesday that he has no connection with the Ruam Thai Sang Chart Party.  

“Why would I advise him on anything about his party’s policies? Why would I have anything to do with that? This is just a new party and that’s it,” he said when asked about his latest discussion with Pirapan.

When asked whether he had made up his mind yet about which party to join, Prayut said that he is still with the Palang Pracharath Party because they nominated him to be the current premier.

When asked whether he would apply to be a member of the PPPR he said, “I am thinking about it”.

Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Minister Anek Laothamatas, who is also the leader of the Action Coalition for Thailand (ACT), also denied on Tuesday that his party is looking to merge with Ruam Thai Sang Chart Party.

“The party is not going to join any other yet, that would be a future matter,” he said.

His comments came after the speculation that the ACT, which was co-founded by the former leader of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee Suthep Thaugsuban, would join forces with the Ruam Thai Sang Chart Party to help support Prayut’s push for his second term.

New ally, old friend

Prawit said after the cabinet meeting on Tuesday that the revamped Ruam Phan Din Party, formally known as the Palang Chart Thai Party, is an ally of the ruling coalition.

“We know each other so, of course, we are allies,” he told reporters when asked whether the Ruam Phan Din Party is on the same side as the government.

General Wit Devahastin na Ayudhya, who is Prawit’s close aide, was named Ruam Phan Din’s leader on Monday.

General Wit told reporters at the launch of the party that his party aims for 25 MP seats at the next general election.

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