The ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) aims to capture at least a dozen House seats in Bangkok in the next election, the same number it won in the previous poll.
The party is confident it can do as well, if not better, than it did in the 2019 elections when it garnered 12 seats in the capital, said PPRP treasurer Narumon Pinyosinwat, who is directing the party’s election bid in Bangkok.
She said the party is unperturbed by what is predicted to be stiff competition across constituencies in the capital, adding that the PPRP is targeting new voters.
However, she admits the re-drawing of constituency boundaries nationwide by the Election Commission (EC) has caused the party a problem in fielding potential candidates in some of Bangkok’s 33 constituencies.
The PPRP will hold a major campaign rally tomorrow in Lan Khon Muang outside City Hall, where each party executive will spend about 15 minutes introducing potential MP candidates.
Ms Narumon said it was unclear if party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon would speak at the rally as he runs a tight schedule. Gen Prawit will hit the campaign trail next week in the far southern province of Narathiwat before heading North to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
Meanwhile, PPRP secretary-general Santi Promphat said the party has stopped bleeding members after the latest defection of Sam Mitr faction founders and other members to Pheu Thai.
The departure from the PPRP of Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin and Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit had no impact on the ruling party, Mr Santi said. They are both co-founders of the Sam Mitr faction.
The two politicians, who were on the PPRP’s executive board, were list MPs, meaning their exits will not affect the party’s pick of potential MP candidates for the constituency system.
Sorawut Neungjamnong has also resigned as a PPRP MP for Chon Buri and moved to Pheu Thai. He is another Sam Mitr member.
Mr Santi said the PPRP has prepared someone else to take over from Mr Sorawut as the party’s election supervisor for the eastern provinces.
“We’ve a replacement who is even better [than Mr Sorawut],” he added.
The Pheu Thai Party is taking its campaign rally to Chon Buri and Rayong, the two eastern economic powerhouses, this weekend.
Party stalwarts will front the rallies, said Nattawut Saikuar, the Pheu Thai Family director. These include party leader Cholnan Srikaew; Paetongtarn Shinawatra, Pheu Thai’s chief adviser on public participation and innovation and head of the “Pheu Thai Family”; and Srettha Thavisin, who serves as an adviser to Ms Paetongtarn.
Also hitting the campaign trail in Chon Buri will be Sonthaya Khunplome, a highly influential figure in local politics who recently defected from the PPRP, along with several politicians.
According to Mr Nattawut, the party’s campaign agenda in the two provinces centres on economic issues.
The Pheu Thai figures will meet business owners and representatives of industries based in the region.
They will also speak to small-scale fishery traders in Rayong.
Rayong, Chon Buri and Phuket are the provinces with the highest daily minimum wage of 354 baht.
Money laundering probe
A money laundering investigation may be sought into funds used for setting up the newly-established Move Party, led by a young millionaire embroiled in legal action related to his online-lottery business, said a senator.
Senator Somchai Sawaengkarn said on Thursday a probe may be necessary to find out how the party came to be established.
The party is led by Panthawat “Nott” Nakwisut, who earlier entered his plea after public prosecutors arraigned him, his company Lottery Online and other company executives at the Bangkok North Municipal Court.
Mr Panthawat confessed that since April 1, 2021, his firm had sold government lottery tickets without separately calculating their service charges.
The fine is based on 510 separate offences.
On Thursday, Mr Somchai said that while Mr Panthawat, CEO of the Kong Salak Plus online lottery platform, was free under the law to set up a political party and run it, his conduct and connection to the lottery business may violate the political parties and/or election laws.
He might also be at risk of breaking the money laundering law.
Mr Somchai, who also heads the Senate committee on human rights and consumer protection, said the Election Commission (EC) is in a position to request the Anti-Money Laundering Office probe the money trail before registering the party.
Despite Mr Panthawat being ordered to pay a hefty fine in the lottery service charges case, he is also facing an investigation by the Department of Special Investigation after he was accused of money laundering and providing an online gambling service with damages estimated at more than a billion baht.