Two key members of the Sam Mitr faction in the ruling Palang Pracharath Party have quit the party to join the opposition Pheu Thai Party, ending months of speculation.
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, leader of the Palang Pracharath Party, said yesterday (Tuesday) that Industry Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit and Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin, key members of the Sam Mitr faction, had informed him about their resignations.
He said that he didn’t try to stop them from leaving adding, however, that their departure will not impact the party. He also said that two well-known figures will join the party, but he declined to disclose their names.
An informed source said the party will unveil the two new party members at its head office this afternoon. They are former finance minister in the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Thirachai Puvanatnaranubala and M.L. Kornkasiwat Kasemsri, an energy activist.
Meanwhile, it is reported that both Suriya and Somsak plan to quit the cabinet today and they are expected to appear at a major Pheu Thai Party political event, scheduled to be held at Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus tomorrow, when the party presents its 400 constituency candidates from across the country.
Somsak had said he prefers to be in the government than in the opposition camp when asked whether he will quit Palang Pracharath Party.
Another key member of the Sam Mitr faction, Sorawut Nuengjamnong, an MP for Chon Bujri, has already left Palang Pracharath Party to join Pheu Thai Party.
Somsak’s younger sister, Sukhothai MP Punsiri Kullanartsiri, has also quit Palang Pracharath to join Pheu Thai.