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Pheu Thai members shift base as survival tactic

SINCE THE 2017 Constitution was never designed to favour the party, Pheu Thai is now seeing its members joining other parties, Pheu Thai secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai said yesterday after one of the party’s former core leaders, Chaturon Chaisang, decided to shift to Thai Raksa Chart.

“Politicians have to find a way to make things work in this parliamentary system,” Phumtham said. “[We] understand that they have to leave, so no hard feelings.”
The new election process included in the junta-driven Constitution is expected to cost larger political parties their party-list MPs, which is why politicians are shifting to other parties as they see fit.
Although the secretary-general claimed to be dismayed by the change, he remained confident that Pheu Thai would come first in the upcoming election. Voters put more trust in the party’s policy direction than in individual members, he said.
Meanwhile, Pheu Thai’s former party-list MP Chaturon yesterday bid farewell to his colleagues after deciding to join its sister party Thai Raksa Chart.
Amid rumours that the shift was due to an internal conflict over leadership, Chaturon insisted his decision did not stem from any conflicts or dissatisfaction. Rather, he said, it was the current political circumstances that forced him to leave.
Apart from Chaturon, several other Pheu Thai politicians have shifted to Thai Raksa Chart, including Pichai Nariptaphan, Anuttama Amornwiwat and Kusumalawati Sirikomut.
Getting experienced politicians to join related parties is also seen as a response to the potential dissolution of Pheu Thai, which is under scrutiny over its alleged relations with fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
The Constitution prohibits any outside influence over local political parties, and if found guilty, it could face dissolution and executives subsequently banned from politics.
Also if the party is dissolved close to the election, the MP candidates may not have enough time to join new parties and run in the election.


Published : November 19, 2018