Ex-army general open to Senate Speaker role amid security focus

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

General Kriangkrai Srirak, who received the highest votes in the public administration and security professional group in last week’s Senate election, responded positively to speculation that he might become the Senate Speaker.

Kriangkrai expressed yesterday that if the majority of the Senate members trusted him with the position of Senate Speaker, he would not hesitate to accept the role. However, his primary focus remains on the Senate’s security responsibilities, particularly those concerning the three southernmost provinces: Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat.

Observers consider Kriangkrai a key figure among the senators-elect believed to have the backing of the Bhumjaithai Party. Having retired about a year ago, Kriangkrai recently served as chief adviser to Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, the leader of Bhumjaithai. The two share a connection from their time as classmates in the National Defence College’s study programme, a course noted for fostering relationships among political and business leaders.

Speculation also surrounds Senator-elect Mongkol Surasajja, who is deemed to have a strong chance of becoming the new Senate Speaker. Mongkol, a former Director-General of the Department of Provincial Administration and former governor of Buriram, is one of the 10 successful candidates in the same professional group as Kriangkrai.

Pundits regard Mongkol as a close associate of Bhumjaithai. He has maintained a professional relationship with Kriangkrai since their retirement, as both have been working together at the Interior Ministry. Mongkol currently serves as an adviser to Deputy Interior Minister Songsak Thongsri, who is also affiliated with Bhumjaithai.

Approximately 20 senators-elect without clear connections to either Bhumjaithai or the Move Forward Party (MFP) have been invited to a gathering next week at the Five Provinces Bordering Forest Preservation Foundation. This foundation, located in the 1st Infantry Regiment in Bangkok’s Phaya Thai district, has long-standing associations with General Prawit Wongsuwon, the leader of the Palang Pracharath Party.

Political activist Sonthiya Sawatdee yesterday joined a growing demand for the Election Commission (EC) to expedite the verification and announcement of the Senate election results.

Thai Sang Thai deputy leader Chavalit Vichayasut voiced concerns that the Senate poll may have breached constitutional guidelines, noting that some provinces are left without a senator, reported Bangkok Post.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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