Rebellion Quelled: 9 Parties Affirm Allegiance to Gov’t

PM Prayuth Chan-ocha arrives at Government House on Aug. 13, 2019.

BANGKOK — Leaders from nine small parties said Tuesday they still support Prayuth Chan-ocha’s administration despite the Prime Minister mangling an oath to His Majesty the King last month.

Their affirmation effectively rebuked Thai Civilized Party leader Mongkolkit Suksintaranont’s claim that the bloc will quit the government coalition and form an independent opposition. Mongkolkit was not present at the press conference, with his party’s logo removed from the conference table just minutes before the event began.

“We still support the work of the government as before and will always support the government,” said Samphan Lertnuwat, the leader of Polamuang Thai Party, one of the nine “micro-parties” aligned with Prayuth.

Also present at the news conference was Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat Prompao, who earlier was sent by the cabinet to meet with the nine party leaders and convince them not to defect.

Thammanat said the cabinet will consider a request by the nine parties to have their members appointed to government posts. The decision will be made at the cabinet’s meeting next Tuesday, he said.

“We’re still together and support the Prayuth administration like before. There is no change,” said Thammanat, from the Phalang Pracharath party that leads the governing coalition.

Prachatham Thai Party leader Pichaet Satilchawan said the micro-parties – called as such because they command only one MP in Parliament each – merely wanted the government to pay more attention to them and their grievances.

“I insist that we support Gen Prayuth,” Pichaet said.

Mongkolkit, who once posed as a staunch Prayuth supporter only to reverse his stance in recent days, made waves last week when he announced his withdrawal of support from the government. He claimed at the time that he was taking other parties with him.

The 37-year-old accused Prayuth’s government of mismanagement, alleged irregularities, and intolerance of criticism.

Mongkolkit Suksintaranont speaks at his party’s news conference on Aug. 13, 2019.

He also took offense at Prayuth omitting a sentence  – “I will also uphold and comply with the constitution of the kingdom in every aspect” from an oath made to His Majesty the King on July 16, which some experts have said could lead to serious legal problems.

Prayuth himself admitted errors were made, but refused to step down as has been called for by some detractors.

In a statement released to the media today, Mongkolkit maintained he would not go back on his words. He also pledged not to cut a deal with the government and return to its fold.

“[We] do not want to get any political position or administrative part except the Representative member that people give scores to us,” he said in an English version of the statement. “We will use the status of Representative member to know the problem of people all 77 provinces in our country.”

Additional reporting Teeranai Charuvastra