BANGKOK — A party where former hardline conservative activist Suthep Thaugsuban serves as a senior advisor will be led by a close aide to Suthep himself.
Taweesak na Takuathung, a lawyer by trade, was elected earlier this week as the new leader of the Action Coalition for Thailand Party, or ACT, a party closely associated with Suthep, who insisted to the media that he had no political ambition or involvement with politics.
But Sataporn Roengtam, an associate professor of humanities and social science at Khon Kaen University, said the former Deputy PM and Democrat vice chairman might be tightening his grip on the party, which commands five seats in the Parliament.
“Taweesak is basically a politician under Suthep’s wing,” Sataporn said by phone. “He can be ordered.”
Suthep led protests against the elected government in 2013 and paved the way for the military to seize power in May 2014 under a pretense of restoring order. After spending several years as a monk, Suthep pledged in 2018 never to return to politics.
Sataporn the lecturer said the party’s former leader, Chatumongkol Sonakul, is more independent-minded and harder for Suthep to control.
Chatumongkol, who also served as the labor minister, resigned from the party in June amid criticism for his lackluster performance as labor minister during coronavirus infections.
The Action Coalition for Thailand Party also unveiled a new logo, showing a white elephant on the field of blue. A party statement said the logo represents the monarchy and people coming together under the blessing of the Royal Family.