A FORMER Democrat MP who joined the anti-government rally that led to the military coup in 2014 has been appointed a deputy governor of Bangkok.
Sakonthi Phattiyakul was named by junta-appointed Bangkok Governor Asawin Kwanmuang to become one of his deputies, effective from Tuesday. Sakonthi will replace Chinnatat Meesuk, according to the governor’s order.
The order came just a week after Sakonthi, on April 3, was spotted at Government House meeting Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, who reportedly is planning a new political party to support Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s return as head of government after the next election.
Joining Sakonthi at the meeting were former Democrat MP Nataphol Teepsuwan and former Chart Thai Pattana MP Chaiwut Thanakomanusorn, who are also expected to join the new party.
Sakonthi and Nataphol were among key figures in the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), which was led by Suthep Thaugsuban, another prominent Democrat Party politician. The PDRC held street protests for several months before the military seized power in the May 2014 coup led by General Prayut, then the Army chief.
A source said yesterday that Sakonthi would be responsible for preparing the new pro-Prayut party in its election battle in Bangkok. Sakonthi’s father, retired General Wanai, was formerly permanent secretary of the Defence Ministry and secretary-general of the National Security Council.
Sakonthi has submitted his resignation from the Democrat Party, effective from yesterday, according to the source.
Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court yesterday agreed to review a bill concerning the election of MPs and a junta order concerning the political party organic law.
The National Legislative Assembly earlier this month filed a petition to the court over the constitutionality of the MP election bill.
The ombudsman sought a court ruling on the constitutionality of junta Order No 53/60 which amended two articles of the political party organic law.
Parties were requested to submit further explanation on the cases by April 25.
Concerns were raised that the review of the bill may delay the election date.