Thailand’s pro-military party fashions itself as a peacemaker ahead of general election
Leader sports trendy look, party paints itself as more liberal Read more at straitstimes. Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, the leader of the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) and former army chief, has been seen as a peacemaker ahead of the upcoming general election. He is also branding himself as a political peace-maker and is positioning himself as the party seeking reconciliation, rebuilding democracy and end decades-long polarised politics in Thailand. He and his party have tried to cut ties with military-linked politics through a series of Facebook posts in the past months, and he has prepared an order to dissolve Parliament. The general election is expected to be held in May, and Mr PrawIT will be the PPRP’s candidate for PM.
Published : 2 weeks ago by in Politics
BANGKOK - Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan has been turning heads of late, dressed in jeans, sneakers and trendy attire.
Earlier in March, the 77-year-old donned a jacket featuring a striking image of a highlighter-pink dragon and an orange tiger, designed by Thai fashion label Issue, while strolling on the streets.
Before that, he also showed off his stylish wardrobe, wearing a forest green Gucci bomber jacket, and on another occasion, sporting limited-edition orange and purple Hugo Boss threads.
Attire apart, the former army chief, who is linked with previous military coups, is also branding himself as a political peace-maker.
In its bid to retain power, the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) which he leads is also positioning itself as a party seeking reconciliation, looking to rebuild democracy, and end decades-long polarised politics in Thailand.
“The PPRP will bring love and unity to the nation. It’s time for us to stop fighting among ourselves. We, the Thai people, must join hands, so the country can move forward for the happiness of everyone,” he said at a rally on Saturday in Bangkok.
In 2014, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha came to power after overthrowing the elected government of then-PM Yingluck Shinawatra. The 2019 general election saw the emergence of PPRP which helped Mr Prayut to return as civilian PM, when it nominated him for the premiership.
Mr Prayut and Mr Prawit were once close allies, along with Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda. All are former army chiefs who were part of the junta-government after the 2014 coup. The trio, who often describe themselves as “brothers”, are dubbed the “Three Ps” by local media.
But this alliance came to an end when Mr Prayut announced his departure from the PPRP in December 2022 to join the new Ruam Thai Sang Chart party, which said it will support him in his goal for re-election.
On Friday, Mr Prayut said he had prepared an order to dissolve Parliament. It will take effect once it gets royal approval, paving the way for the general election that must happen within 60 days of the order. The election is expected to be held in May.
Mr Prawit will be the PPRP’s candidate for PM. And in the past months, he and the party have tried to cut ties with military-linked politics and Mr Prayut, mainly through a series of Facebook posts.
The “open letters” posted on Mr Prawit’s recently active social media page are purportedly his personal musings. In the lengthy posts, he positions himself as the bridge to bring about reconciliation and find common ground between the liberal and the conservative camps.
In one of his letters, he wrote: “Now, I understand the need to lead the country with a democratic regime.”
When asked by The Straits Times after Saturday’s rally if he thought the current government was considered democratic, he said: “Let the people decide if they want a change.”