“There’s a claim that the ‘High Institution’ wants to replace the prime minister. This is gravely wrong! I’m the only one who can make official requests! No one else! Is this clear?” General Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday.
But no one ever made that claim.
In the latest nausea of Thailand’s politics, General Prayut brought the institution into play in his conflict with Palang Pracharat’s Party Secretary Thamanat Prompow.
The big story over the past two days is MP Thamanat allegedly offering five million baht each to coalition MPs for a no-confidence vote against General Prayut in a bid to remove him from power.
When the story leaked, all hell broke loose.
General Prayut went straight to General Prawit Wongsuwan to ensure his loyalty. MP Thamanat drove directly back from the province to give a press conference denying everything. Former coalition partner, Thai Civilized’s Mongkolkit Suksintaranont said General Prayut plans to sack MP Thamanat from his Deputy Agricultural Minister post.
General Prayut denied the sacking.
Then there’s the “I match your five with my five” accusation.
During yesterday’s censure debate, Pheu Thai’s MP Visarn Techateerawat angrily said:
“Allow me this chance to tell the world. Right now, General Prayut Chan-o-cha is paying five million baht to MPs on the third floor!”
“This action is outrageous! Corrupted! Do you want to stay in power this much? MPs taking five million baht from the prime minister! How can this happen in Thailand? Is this what you do while the people are dying? Dissolve it! Shameless! It’s time the spirits curse you all!”
Six MPs were caught in the general’s office, including Palang Pracharat’s Veerakorn Kamprakob, who protested against the accusation on the parliament floor, saying he and others went to the general to give supports and to talk about water management and agriculture zoning.
“What are you talking about with the money? This is too insulting! What MPs would accept four or five million baht? And in this building? Nonsense!” said MP Veerakorn.
When asked by reporters, General Prayut replied, “I don’t do this crazy thing! I don’t make snack bags!”