Thai ruling party rebels agree on PM candidate
BANGKOK: A rebel group in Thailand’s ruling People Power Party (PPP) agreed on Tuesday to back a brother-in-law of ousted leader Thaksin Shinawatra as prime minister, its spokesman said.
The faction’s climb-down from a threat to pull out of the party after a night of haggling for cabinet positions makes the election of Somchai Wongsawat at Wednesday’s special session of parliament highly likely.
“Tomorrow, all 73 MPs in our group will vote for Somchai as the new prime minister,” Supachai Poesu, a spokesman for the faction, told reporters after a party meeting. The group walked out of a meeting on Monday at which the PPP board anointed Somchai, who has been acting prime minister since a court sacked Samak Sundaravej last week for hosting TV cooking shows while in office.
Some MPs fear Somchai’s links to Thaksin, who was removed in a 2006 coup, will only exacerbate tensions with street protesters arguing that the PPP-led coalition is merely a Thaksin puppet. Somchai, married to one of Thaksin’s sisters, brushed aside calls for a snap election if the factions could not agree on a nomination. “Everything will be sorted out today,” he told reporters before chairing a cabinet meeting.
The PPP originally named Samak as its pick for prime minister despite the court ruling, although his nomination foundered when the rebel faction and the other five parties in the ruling coalition failed to turn up for Friday’s vote in parliament. reuters