Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha would not deny or confirm speculation that he is leaving the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) to join Ruam Thai Sang Chart Party.
“Not yet, not moving yet,” Prayut said when reporters asked on Tuesday if the speculation was distracting him from his work at the weekly Cabinet meeting.
On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan announced that he would not stop Prayut if he and some PPRP MPs defected to Ruam Thai Sang Chart Party.
Prawit was approached for comments following speculation that the two generals had discussed a strategy to try and retain power after the next general election by getting Prayut to lead another party and increasing the chance of winning more House seats.
Reporters on the Government House beat also asked Prayut about the supposed “dividing to fight” from other parties strategy, to which the PM said: “Nothing happened. I have no answer.”
Prayut would only confirm that he is joining Prawit this evening (November to celebrate Loy Krathong.
Earlier, Ruam Thai Sang Chart leader Pirapan Salirathavibhanga was seen walking with Prayut to attend the weekly Cabinet meeting. Pirapan does not hold a Cabinet post but is an adviser to the PM. He has rarely been seen attending Cabinet meetings until Tuesday, which sparked speculation.
Pirapan was also quoted as saying earlier that he would welcome Prayut if he decides to join his party. However, after the Cabinet meeting, he said he does not know if the PM is interested because they have not discussed the subject yet.
After all, he said, Prayut was busy making preparations for the upcoming Apec Summit.
Though Prayut is not officially a PPRP member, he was the party’s only prime ministerial candidate for the 2019 general election.