Former Deputy PM Somboon Rahong dies
Former Deputy Prime Minister Air Chief Marshal Somboon Rahong passed away, aged 81, after receiving treatment at Ramathibodi Hospital for the past two months.
He was one of the most colourful soldier-turned-politicians in the Thai political history, since he succeeded Gen Chatichai Choonhavan as the leader of Chart Thai Party in 1991. Chatichai was then toppled in a coup in 1991 led by Gen Sunthorn Kongsompong.
The most well-known episode involved the nomination of the prime minister in 1992.
In 1992, he was widely expected to become the prime minister after the resignation of Gen Suchinda Kraprayoon.
Somboon served as a deputy prime minister and education minister in the Suchinda government. On June 10, 1992 Somboon was standing by in formal uniform awaiting the royal announcement of his appointment as interim prime minister.
However, the post fell to Anand Panyarachun.
In 1997, ACM Somboon, then a member of the Prachakorn Thai (Thai Citizen) Party led by Samak Sundaravej, broke with a party resolution and joined 12 other party MPs in supporting the Democrat Party's Chuan Leekpai as prime minister.
The MPs who defected became known as the "cobra faction", a name given to them by Samak and which had its origins in the "Farmer and the Cobra" tale, in which a cobra bites and kills the farmer who rescues him.