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Opposition calls for the Thai PM to stand down, Democrats re-iterate their support

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Seizing the opportunity, Thailand’s opposition political parties are taking advantage of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s current poor standing amidst a crisis of high Covid infections and botched vaccine roll out.

Opposition parties jointly issued a statement demanding the PM’s resignation. Among a list of general failures, they also accused PM Prayut of “causing irreversible damage to the nation”.

The opposition bloc, led by Pheu Thai, say the resignation would “pave the way for a professional government to take over”. 

“The opposition will today or tomorrow submit to the National Anti-Corruption Commission a petition seeking to oust Gen Prayut. And if Gen Prayut still refuses to budge and tries to cling to power until the end of the new parliamentary session, he will witness the public’s reaction.”

Meanwhile, there were rumours circulating last week that Thammanat Prompao, a Palang Pracharat MP and alleged convicted heroin smuggler, would be given responsibility for overseeing the government’s coordination of Covid services and programs in southern provinces.

The Democrat Party balked at the prospect, threatening to walk away from the government coalition. The government have since gone silent on that idea, for now, and the Democrats have re-affirmed their support. Democrat MPs are now leading the southern Covid response. But it hasn’t stopped members of the Democrat Party’s leadership group from continuing their criticism of the PM’s general response to Thailand’s Covid crisis.

The Palang Pracharat-led coalition’s other main rump of MP votes comes from the Bhumjaithai party, headed up by the public health minister Anutin Charnvirakul. There has been plenty of public friction between the PM and his high-profile Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul in recent weeks, played out in public statements.

Anutin, and the Bhumjaithai party’s support, are crucial to the stability of the coalition. The importance can partly be measured by the roll out of cannabis reform since 2019 – a core policy platform of Bhumjaithai in the lead up to the March 2019 general election. There would have been no reform, or even discussions on the topic of cannabis reform, unless the conservative government caved in to the political expediency of ‘getting the numbers’ to form a workable government.

Anutin has been publicly sidelined after PM Prayut very publicly took over responsibility for all aspects of Thailand’s response to the Covid outbreak.

In the case of the PM standing down there would only be 2 choices for a replacement… Deputy PM and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and former PM Abhisit Vejjajiva for the Democrat Party. The Thai constitution also involves the unelected and hand-picked 250 senators to take part in any parliamentary selection of a new Thai prime minister. Whilst that aspect of the Thai constitution remains in place the role of prime minister will be filled by a conservative supported of the military, not necessarily a voted member of parliament.

But the possibility of PM Prayut standing down is extremely unlikely as the nomination of either of the alternatives would almost certainly spell the end of the coalition.

 

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Slugger

    Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 10:21 am

    ‘But the possibility of PM Prayut standing down is extremely unlikely’

    Right, so…………..?

  2. David Pilkington

    Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 10:57 am

    A report that more than makes clear that Thailand is a country on the absolute brink and no need to say ‘what of?’ Prayut & Co need to ask themselves a few hard questions; questions like:

    1) Do they TRULY BELIEVE that they can repair the economy that 6 years of post-coup mismanagement and last year’s devastating total shutting down the country as their answer to the CV-19 threat, as opposed to a conventional lockdown under which businesses are allowed to continue running, have placed on a downward spiral?

    2) Do they TRULY BELIEVE that the world’s general public perception of Thailand, i.e. the FORMER happy Land of Smiles, could possibly be retrieved with them in power? Ineptitude, corruption, questionable MP profiles and their perceived legitimizing of the Myanmar slaughter by one means or another; for example, by seeming high level diplomatic support (General Hlaing and Prayut talks in Bangkok) and hundreds of bags of rice ‘mysteriously’ appearing at the border, with Prayut denying they were intended for the Burmese army’s collection.

    A country ‘on the brink’ pretty well defines Thailand, now, I’m sure.

  3. Jeff

    Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 12:02 pm

    “Democrat” seems to be synonymous with tyranny the whole world over.

  4. Harry1

    Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 2:02 pm

    the opposition parties collectively can become the majority power in parliament,but in the new constitution the senate now have a vote ? which makes the balance of power, more difficult, to replace the current PM.but with a evitable prolonged lockdown,l suspect even PM elitist supporters who own major businesses are now heavily effected, by the disarray of the vaccines roll out. uncertain times ahead,and could had been prevented,if they had the vaccines 4 months ago

  5. Social Observer

    Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 8:39 pm

    Thailand, formerly the Land of Smiles, now the Land of Frowns.

  6. Simon Small

    Friday, April 30, 2021 at 10:37 am

    “… last year’s devastating total shutting down the country …”

    WTF are you talking about, @David P?

    This is like your “virtual total shutdown of manufacturing”.

    It never happened. There was no “devastating total shutting down the country” just as there was no “virtual total shutdown of manufacturing”.

    We’re all entitled to our own opinions but not our own facts and there was no “total shutdown”. Borders were closed, just as they were in most countries in the region from Aus and NZ to Vietnam and Cambodia, and there was a limited “conventional lockdown” just as there was in those countries and in Europe and the UK, albeit far briefer.

    That’s all that happened.

    No “total shutdown”.

    … and “hundreds of bags of rice” didn’t “‘mysteriously’ appear at the border”, unloaded from Thai military trucks to Burmese military as was alleged. As was shown soon after, the only “military” connection was one of the labourers wore a pair of army-surplus trousers!

  7. Simon Small

    Friday, April 30, 2021 at 10:47 am

    “the opposition parties collectively can become the majority power in parliament”

    How, @Harry1 ?

    The vote of no confidence in February was rejected by 272 to 206.

    There can’t be another one for another year.

  8. Toby Andrews

    Friday, April 30, 2021 at 7:45 pm

    Thammanat Prompao, is not an alleged drug smuggler. He WAS a drug smuggler of heroin in Australia. He pleaded guilty and spent four years in jail for this crime. He was deported when he was released.
    These are the sort of people that the Thai government tolerate being in their parliament.

  9. Stardust

    Thursday, June 10, 2021 at 8:35 pm

    It is time some adults take responsibility and save Thailand from this Clowns and kids.

  10. Stardust

    Thursday, June 10, 2021 at 8:41 pm

    Only Clowns advocat Clowns and only Clowns defend the undefendable! These Clowns would get no job in a international Company, their competence is on a kindergarten level.

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Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2011. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 42 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program (public radio Australia), presented over 11,000 radio news bulletins, 3,950 in Thailand alone, hosted 1050 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. He also reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand.

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