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Chusak: Pheu Thai will remain in opposition under new leadership

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Sompong Amornwiwat (right) resigned from leadership on Saturday. Bangkok Post

BANGKOK (Bangkok Post) – Pheu Thai will not jump ship and join the coalition government after the new party leadersip is unveiled on Thursday, acting leader Chusak Sirinil said on Monday.

Chusak said the leadership shake-up will not lead to a change in Pheu Thai’s political stand. It will not cross to the government camp led by the Palang Pracharath Party.

The party’s acting executive board was scheduled to meet on Monday and expected to call a general assembly on Thursday to select the new leader and executive committee after Sompong Amornwiwat resigned his leadership on Saturday.

Chusak also said Pheu Thai would not join a “national government” to defuse political conflict, with the government under rising pressure from protesters to write a new constitution and call a general election.

The acting leader agreed it is possible Sompong may be returned as leader, with a new executive board. He stressed, however, that the party would stay with the opposition faction.

Palang Pracharath leader Prawit Wongsuwon on Monday also brushed aside any suggestion Pheu Thai would join the coalition government.

“No. No,” Gen Prawait, who is also deputy prime minister, said.

The future direction of Pheu Thai is being closely watched after Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan quit as the party’s chief strategist, with the backing of her supporters. This led directly to the resignation of Sompong on Saturday. All remain party members.

Khunying Sudarat backs Pheu Thai’s proposed charter amendments and strongly opposes the appointment of non-MPs as prime minister, such as the current premier Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Pheu Thai heavyweights on Sunday denied speculation that Khunying Potjaman na Pombejra, ex-wife of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, could take the party helm.

Party sources confirmed she had played a key role in the ongoing changes in the party’s executive structure, aimed at ending the conflict among the party’s factions.

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