The Nation



Ex-MPs leave parties to join Pheu Thai ahead of Feb 2 poll

Former premier Somchai Wongsawat, second left, greets Matchima

Former premier Somchai Wongsawat, second left, greets Matchima

Former Matchima faction MPs, led by Somsak Thepsutin, and some former Chart Thai Pattana Party MPs have applied for membership in Pheu Thai Party in the hope of running under the ruling party's banner in the next election.

Pheu Thai leaders yesterday welcomed Somsak and more than 10 members of his faction - a breakaway bloc from the Bhum Jai Thai Party - to the ruling party's headquarters. Somsak's group includes former MPs from Sukhothai, Ratchaburi, Chai Nat and Nakhon Nayok.

Caretaker Interior Minister Charupong Ruangsuwan, who is also Pheu Thai leader, said his party offered a warm welcome to the Matchima group as it would definitely strengthen the party.

Former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat sought to allay fears that the party's bringing more factions into its fold could fuel internal conflicts by creating competition for MP seats.

Meanwhile, Chart Thai Pattana Party de facto leader Banharn Silapa-archa said he would run as the number 1 party-list MP candidate. Nominal party leader Theera Wongsamut would keep his position but would not run in the election, Banharn said.

The party was gearing up for the election and already had 100 names on its party-list MP candidate list, he said.

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