By THE NATION
Preechaphol Pongpanit, the 37-year-old son of former deputy education minister Sermsak Pongpanit, was chosen as Thai Raksa Chart’s leader yesterday. He was previously a Pheu Thai MP from Khon Kaen province.
Former PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s nephew, Rupop, was chosen as deputy party leader.
The three other deputy leaders named yesterday were red-shirt chief Pongsak Phusitsakul along with former Pheu Thai MPs Sunee Luangwijit and Pruetichai Viriyaroj.
The secretary-general’s position went to Mitti, son of former Palang Prachachon MP Yongyuth Tiyapairath.
Other core leaders attending the meeting yesterday included Thaksin’s niece Chayika Wongnapachant, former finance minister Kittirat Na-Ranong’s son Ton, and former energy minister Pichai Naripthaphan’s son Pachara.
While it was previously believed that Pheu Thai’s big-name politicians might migrate to the sister party, they were conspicuously absent yesterday.
However, the possibility of them moving to other sister parties has not been ruled out.
Key Pheu Thai leader Chaturon Chaisang admitted in a Facebook post on Tuesday that due to the party-dissolution threat and the possibility of Pheu Thai losing a significant share in the Lower House due to the new election method, some party members were considering seeking shelter in other parties.
However, he rejected the notion that the move was related to an internal conflict over Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan’s de facto leadership, saying it was not such a big issue for the members to be moving elsewhere.
Chaturon, chosen to lead Pheu Thai’s policy committee just two weeks ago, was also expected to leave Pheu Thai to prepare for a worst-case scenario. In the Facebook post, he said he has developed a strong attachment to the party, but will have to eventually make a decision.
“When the time comes, all of us will have to make a decision. I will consider the best way that allows me to work according to my ideology,” Chaturon wrote.