Stunned Thaksin followers mull options
Former Thai Rak Thai MPs have admitted that it is likely the party was doomed after the government was overthrown.
Party leader and deposed PM Thaksin Shinawatra and many of its key figures are now in London.
The Council for Democratic Reform under Constitutional Monarchy (CDRM), which overthrew the government on Tuesday night, has ordered former Cabinet members and Thaksin aides in Thailand to report to them.
Some have done so, but key Thai Rak Thai figures appear to be lying low in safe houses.
But several former MPs already believe the party would have to be dissolved.
"When we have no leader and no executives, the party cannot continue," said former Khon Kaen MP Prajak Kaewklaharn.
Prajak said he would still contest the next election, but he had no idea what party he would turn to.
Former Bangkok MP Mongkol Kimsoonjan said that Thai Rak Thai might be disbanded even if Thaksin returned to Thailand.
"He may hinder party operations," Mongkol said, admitting that after the coup friends from another party had asked him to join them. However, he said he would wait for a fresh constitution before deciding his political career.
Mongkol is a member of Sudarat Keyuraphan's faction. He believes Sudarat may leave politics, while other party Thai Rak Thai members in different factions might form a new political party.
"For me, if there are two choices, I may choose the Democrat Party because it is more popular than others in Bangkok," he said.
Wang Nam Yom faction member Wichai Chaichitwanitchakul said he had not yet connected with other members, including the faction leader. "I think we are in a state of aftershock," he said.
He said that political activity might stop and that he would stay in his hometown of Udon Thani.
When asked about his political future, he replied that his faction still remained. "I plan to meet again with the former Northern MPs after the CDRM appoints the new premier," Wichai said. The only certainty for Thai Rak Thai at present is uncertainty. "We don't know if we can still carry out political activities or not. Our group can merge with another party, except the Democrats", he said.
Former Sakon Nakhon MP Chalermchai Ulankul said he and others might be unemployed for about a year. However, he expected results from the political reforms, especially a new constitution.
Chalermchai said his group was "firm" and preparing to run in the election next year. Still, it was difficult to talk about the political future, the former MP said. "As long as the Thai Rak Thai Party is not dissolved, we can't say we will move to be under any other party. However, I don't know who will continue the TRT," he said.
Chalermchai is a member of a faction allied with Suchart Tancharoen, a key TRT figure.