The Pheu Thai Party yesterday said it would welcome back with open arms the Sam Mitr faction if it defects from the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) ahead of the general election.
Despite denying having been in talks with the group about its possible defection to the country’s main opposition party, Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew confirmed some MPs in the faction have already left the PPRP for Pheu Thai.
Based on what Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin, who is the chairman of the PPRP’s strategic panel and also a key figure in the faction, said on Tuesday, the final decision is likely to be made no later than next week, said Dr Cholnan.
Mr Somsak has said the final decision was to be made by another figure in the group, Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit, who also serves as the PPRP’s deputy leader.
Asked whether Pheu Thai offered any important positions to Mr Somsak, Paetongtarn Shinawatra, Pheu Thai’s chief adviser on public participation and innovation, said the party welcomes any former Pheu Thai members who wanted to return to the party.
Dr Cholnan, meanwhile, said there had been no discussions about any position Mr Somsak would take if he returned, along with others in the Sam Mitr group.
Mr Somsak on Tuesday made it clear that Mr Suriya is the person with the final say on the group’s decision to leave the PPRP and to which party it would move to.
He added that he still has some important duties left to finish as justice minister. After that, he and the group will be free to go wherever they want, said Mr Somsak.
He said he preferred to go where there are prospects of him becoming part of a government as he has no knack for functioning as a member of the opposition. In his political career, he has never been in the opposition, he added.
Democrat Party list MP Malika Boonmetrakul, meanwhile, said a number of former MPs from other parties had recently moved to the Democrats, including Porapol Adireksarn, a former Pheu Thai MP. He will represent the Democrats in Constituency 1 of Saraburi, which he has won repeatedly in past polls, said Ms Malika.