More Dems join UTN, last ‘Sam Mitr’ member joins Pheu Thai

More Dems join UTN, last 'Sam Mitr' member joins Pheu Thai
Juti: Quit party on March 7
Juti: Quit party on March 7

Two veteran politicians have left the Democrat Party for the United Thai Nation (UTN) Party, while the last remaining core members of the Sam Mitr group, one of the mainstay factions in the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), are poised to return to the Pheu Thai Party, according to political sources.

Social Development and Human Security Minister Juti Krairiksh reportedly quit as a Democrat member and applied to join the UTN on March 7, while Boonyod Sooktinthai, a former Democrat MP for Bangkok, announced his departure from the party on his Facebook. He said he will start work with the UTN today after more than 15 years with the Democrats.

Meanwhile, core members of the Sam Mitr faction will attend the Pheu Thai event to unveil the main opposition party’s 400 constituency MP candidates on Friday, said a Pheu Thai source.

Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin, Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit, Ratchaburi MP Boonying Nitikanchana and Chon Buri MP Sarawut Nuengchamnong have decided to join Pheu Thai and will be officially introduced, according to the source.

The Sam Mitr faction is expected to further strengthen the party, especially boosting its chances of winning in the lower part of the northern region, said the source.

However, Mr Suriya, who serves as deputy leader of the PPRP, refused to make any comment on the matter after attending the cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Last month, PM’s Office Minister Anucha Nakasai became the first core figure of the Sam Mitr group to quit the PPRP. He later joined the UTN, signalling a first major crack in the ruling party’s faction.

Before Mr Somsak and Mr Suriya came to the PPRP, they both served as executives of the Pheu Thai Party.

Mr Somsak, who is currently chairman of the PPRP’s strategic panel, took leave on Tuesday and made an inspection trip in Kamphaeng Phet province.

He was welcomed by potential election candidates from the Pheu Thai Party, while none from the PPRP turned up.