TUESDAY, April 23, 2024

Smiling Prawit says PPRP, Ruam Thai Sang Chart virtually the same party

Smiling Prawit says PPRP, Ruam Thai Sang Chart virtually the same party

Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan appeared in extraordinary good mood on Monday, quipping to reporters that his ruling Phalang Pracharat (PPRP) is virtually the same party as the party Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is poised to join.

PPRP leader Prawit had been dodging reporters’ questions about Prayut’s political future for the past three weeks amid intense speculation that the PM is about to join the new Ruam Thai Sang Chart Party (RTSCP).

But before leaving Government House on Monday morning, Prawit walked to the podium where government leaders normally talk to the press and smiled at reporters as if inviting them to fire questions.

Reports indicate that Prayut, who was Phalang Pracharat’s sole prime ministerial candidate at the last general election, will join RTSCP and become its PM candidate for the next national poll, tentatively scheduled for May 7, 2023. It is thought that a group of PPRP MPs will also defect with Prayut to the new party.

Prawit, however, appeared in a good mood as he stepped up to the podium.

“Who said I’m upset. I’m not upset. I’m excited every day. You, reporters, are upset yourselves so you say that I’m like you. I can confirm that I’m not upset and not under pressure,” said a smiling Prawit at the impromptu press briefing.

The deputy PM also insisted that PPRP MPs would not be lured away to rival parties.

When asked to comment on speculation that PPRP MPs would join the new party with Prayut, he replied:

“Let them go. We’re the same party. It will be fine.”

Asked by a reporter whether PPRP and RTSCP were political allies, Prawit smiled and said only that: “Gen Prayut and I are brothers. Nothing has gone wrong between us. If he wants to stay with that party, let him. I won’t complain. I have no problem.”

He quickly added: “Living separately does not mean rifts. We have been working together for 40 or 50 years. Why should we have conflicts?

“You ask this question every day, don’t you?” Prawit chuckled.

“People, please be informed that I have no conflicts with Prayut.”

Generals Prawit and Prayut are known as brothers-in-arms, having served together in the military and both risen to the post of Army chief.

Asked whether their different platforms in power had prompted Prayut to join a new party, Prawit replied in a high-pitched voice: “Nooooo! It’s a matter for the prime minister. You must ask him yourselves.”

Prayut has never been a member of the PPRP.

Asked whether the PPRP and RTSCP would ally for the next election battle, Prawit replied: “We won’t join forces to fight but we will mind our business.”

When a reporter asked if PPRP and RTSCP are “brother parties”, the deputy PM confirmed again that they were actually the same.

“We know each other. Actually, it’s the same party,” Prawit replied.