Veteran politico Chalerm 'certain' of Pheu Thai majority at general election
Chalerm Yoobamrung, a key figure in the Pheu Thai Party, expressed confidence on Monday that the previously ruling party would win the next general election.
The veteran politician said he expected Pheu Thai to gain a majority in the House of Representatives, by winning more than 250 of the 500 seats up for grabs.
“Believe me, the Pheu Thai Party will win with a landslide. I am certain we will get more than 250 MP seats,” he said.
Chalerm’s remarks reflected an earlier claim made by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is widely viewed as Pheu Thai’s patriarch and often referred to as “Big Boss” by many of its politicians.
Chalerm recently met Thaksin – who has been in self-exile overseas since 2008 – in Hong Kong.
The ex-PM fled the country shortly before the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders sentenced him to two years in jail for abuse of power.
Regarding a new party leader for Pheu Thai, Chalerm also said that it would “certainly not be him”. However, he declined to comment on who he thought was suitable to become the party’s next leader.
A deputy prime minister in the previous government led by Thaksin’s sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, Chalerm said on Monday that he was now in charge of Pheu Thai’s election centre and that he had information pointing to the party’s victory in the next national election.
He added that Pheu Thai would “completely defeat” a political group called Sam Mit (Three Friends), which had been formed to support Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha’s return to power after the election.
Sam Mit, led by veteran politicians who are Thaksin’s former allies, is linked to a new political party called Palang Pracharat, whose name is inspired by the government’s populist development project Pracharat (people and state).
The group has managed to woo many former MPs from other parties, particularly Pheu Thai, into its fold.
Chalerm also said that Sam Mit had got only “election candidates”, and not election winners.
This remark reflected a claim by Thaksin and some Pheu Thai leaders that the party’s new candidates would defeat those defectors in the next general election.
Chalerm was speaking to reporters at the Crime Suppression Division (CSD), which he was visiting to offer moral support to his son, Wan, and his grandson, Achawin, both of whom had turned themselves in at CSD headquarters to face the charge of physical assault.
Wan and Achawin stand accused of assaulting a 34-year-old man outside a Thong Lo pub during the night of April 23.
The accuser, identified as Panuwat Punnarattanakul, who had a personal dispute with Achawin while in Singapore, alleged that Wan had punched him in the face many times on the night in question.
Panuwat also claimed that an armed man accompanying Wan and Achawin had drawn his pistol when he was about to fight back.
At that time, Achawin also kicked him, the accuser added.
The armed man fired shots into the air to prevent Panuwat’s friends from helping him, it was alleged.
Achawin, accompanied by his lawyer, was questioned for about two hours at CSD headquarters, before being released after being fingerprinted. Wan had turned himself in to police last month to face the same charge.