March 1, 2023
BANGKOK – Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday dismissed rumours that the Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) has done a deal with Pheu Thai to form a coalition government after the upcoming election.
Prayut said his deputy, PPRP leader Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, had assured him that PPRP had no plans to ally with any party following the national poll, due on May 7.
Speaking to reporters after chairing the weekly Cabinet meeting, Prayut clarified that he hadn’t actually asked Prawit about his future plans.
Instead, Prawit had assured him earlier that he had never promised to form a coalition with any party.
“He [Prawit] told me that he has never said he will join hands with anybody. He insisted that he has not promised anything [to any party],” Prayut said.
Reporters were grilling Prayut one day after Prawit, in a Facebook post, appeared to echo the opinion of Pheu Thai patriarch Thaksin Shinawatra that “a group of elites” were responsible for Thailand’s bitter political conflict. Prawit wrote that the elites mistrusted elected politicians, and this had led to unending conflict between conservatives and liberals.
PM Prayut was also asked if he would be a party-list candidate for the United Thai Nation Party as well as running as its PM candidate.
“I won’t reply to this question, I have not made a decision yet,” the premier said.
Turning to the subject of Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, Prayut said 14 topics were acknowledged and 34 discussed including eight urgent issues. He added that ministers still had work to do to address people’s plight, the most important being the next round of state welfare card benefits. The Cabinet gave the green light for the Finance Ministry to come up with eligibility criteria for the benefits, he said.
Prayut reckons the cards may be issued in time for the government to distribute welfare payments on April 1.
“We’ll take care of the people to the best of our ability, even though we are at the final stage of this government,” the PM said.