THE PRO-JUNTA Palang Pracharat Party “will most definitely” nominate General Prayut Chan-o-cha as its first prime ministerial candidate for the next election, a key party figure said yesterday.
Science and Technology Minister Suvit Maesincee, in his capacity as deputy leader of Palang Pracharat, also said the party will soon hold a detailed discussion on who should be its three PM candidates.
The law requires each political party to nominate no more than three candidates for the country’s top post before contesting in the general elections.
However, another key party figure, Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong, said “it’s still not time” for Palang Pracharat to choose its PM candidate.
When asked if Prayut will run for his second term as premier, Palang Pracharat’s secretary-general Sontirat said it will be decided later through the party’s decision-making process.
Sontirat and other senior party figures, including Suriya Juengrungruangkit, were in Khon Kaen yesterday to meet with more than 70 party members who are former MPs in the Northeast. The meeting discussed Palang Pracharat’s standpoints and platforms.
The party’s senior figures also met with local residents to hear their problems and requests.
Sontirat said he was confident his party would get “substantial support” from voters in the Northeast. “So, we hope to become a core party that can form the next government, which is the party’s goal,” he said.
Palang Pracharat is viewed as connected to the post-coup government led by General Prayut, though it has drawn many former MPs and veteran politicians from other parties.
Meanwhile, the prime minister dismissed claims that his post-coup government aims to retain its power through the 20-year national strategy, adding that the strategy is purely for the country’s benefit.
Prayut, who also heads the ruling National Council for Peace and Order, also denied that his government was trying to woo voters by giving handouts to the poor, pointing out that Thailand has more than 14.7 million people who earn less than Bt100,000 per year and need help from the state.
He was speaking at a seminar organised by the Chamber Commerce of Thailand at the Bitec exhibition centre.
Separately, most eligible voters said they will vote for their favourite MPs even though they have defected to other parties, according to Suan Dusit Poll.
Of the 1,180 respondents, 54.1 per cent said their favourite MP will not lose their vote because they had changed their allegiance due to personal reasons. The remaining 45.9 per cent said they will not vote for the defectors because they were not firm with their ideology.
The survey was conducted from Wednesday to Saturday.