Mingkwan’s Resignation Draws Mixed Interpretations

New Economics Party leader Mingkwan Sangsuwan boards a bus to attend the parliament's inauguration on May 24, 2019.

BANGKOK — Social media and observers are struggling to make sense of the abrupt resignation of New Economics Party leader Mingkwan Sangsuwan.

After announcing Thursday that he is stepping down from leadership of his party, Mingkwan kept a tight lip when questioned over whether his party will now defect to a pro-junta coalition. The 67-year-old former deputy prime minister refused to answer reporters’ questions today.

His silence is being seen by some as a retreat from his commitment in March to an anti-junta coalition, while others say it’s too early to draw conclusions.

“This is like a company’s top executive signing a contract then resigning,” pro-democracy activist Nutta Mahattana said in an interview. “This doesn’t absolve the legal commitment made. In politics what was said to the public counts.”

Future Forward Party MP Rangsiman Rome said he believes Mingkwan is still on the same side as the anti-junta faction.

“I don’t think he would risk his reputation,” Rangsiman said.

But Rangsiman fears some MPs in New Economics Party may vote for Phalang Pracharath against their party’s direction.

“Free votes will destroy the parliamentary system,” the former activist said.

For veteran election observer Laddawan Tantivitayapitak, however, Mingkwan’s move remains too ambiguous to read.

“I don’t know,” Laddawan said. “There must have been many factors and conditions involved.”

In an announcement posted online yesterday, Mingkwan explained that his responsibilities to draft the party’s economic policies and communicate to the public have been fulfilled.

He then appointed deputy party leader Supadit Akasarerk to oversee the party’s administration, finances and recruitment in his absence.

The New Economics Party has six MPs – Mingkwan included – in the lower house. Back in March, when both Pheu Thai and Phalang Pracharath were forming rival coalitions, Mingkwan told reporters that Pheu Thai had the support of his party.