Pro-junta figure Paiboon Nititawan yesterday led the People’s Reform Party’s executives-to-be to request official party status from the Election Commission (EC), after having succeeded in collecting over Bt1 million in membership fees and attracting more than 500 members.
Representing the party, Paiboon stood firm in its stated stance to support junta head General Prayut Chan-o-cha to be the “outsider” prime minister after next year’s general election.
“I believe General Prayut is good to be a middleman prime minister, but must not be affiliated with any party. This is to get the country through the transitional period [after the election],” the People’s Reform Party leader said.
Although the current prime minister has been the target of criticism following the recent so-called “headhunting phenomenon”, whereby old-face politicians are supposedly being attracted to a pro-junta camp allegedly with a plan to set up a party, Paiboon said he was confident that Prayut was an honest man.
The criticism is just an attempt to bar the PM from returning to power, he added.
Paiboon, who remains supportive of Prayut, suggested that after the election three forces would be needed to bring peace and order: the people’s power, the bureaucracy, and the politicians.
“In the Parliament, the opinions of the Senate must be considered. It has a role in the parliamentary system, too,” he insisted.
The Senate will be appointed by the ruling junta and is deemed by critics as being a means for the military to remain in power.
Paiboon’s People’s Reform Party is among a number that are being set up to back the junta and Prayut to maintain its power in politics.
Since People’s Reform was told by the Election Commission last month that it could proceed with finding members and collecting membership fees, as legally required before requesting official status, the party has gained 1,441 members in 72 provinces, the exceptions being Krabi, Chai Nat, Phatthalung, Satun and Samut Songkhram.
It has also collected Bt1.441 million from these members as a seeding fund.
Paiboon said the party aimed to have 10,000 members within four months covering all 77 provinces, and would field candidates in 99 per cent of the constituencies at the coming general election.