By The Nation
Pheu Thai’s Phinit Chantharasurin was set to run in the by-election after his son Itthirat, who won by 42,984 votes in last year’s election, passed away. Palang Pracharath’s Wattana Sithiwang, who came in second with 30,368 votes last year, was set to be his No 1 opponent.
However, Phinit decided not to run because he said there was no benefit. He also seems to be leaning more towards Palang Pracharath Party, especially after Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat Prompao called on Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan to let Phinit apply for the post of chief executive of provincial administrative organisations.
In return, Phinit was asked to withdraw from the by-election and clear the path for Wattana to become a representative of Lampang.
Now Phinit has to decide whether he takes up the chief executive’s job as a member of Pheu Thai or of Palang Pracharath. Rumour also has it that his bond with Pheu Thai leader Sudarat Keyuraphan is breaking.
Besides, Phinit has indicated that he would not hesitate to join Palang Pracharath if it wins in Lampang.
Another factor believed to influencing his decision is the internal conflict in Pheu Thai, which first reared its head at the end of last year when the party lost in the Khon Kaen by-election.
The party’s loss in its long-standing stronghold was blamed on Sudarat, and the expected loss in Lampang is