Pheu Thai list MP Mingkwan Saengsuwan will remain with the party and is expected to run as an election candidate under the list system, says Chiang Rai MP Samart Kaewmeechai.
Mr Mingkwan yesterday showed up at a party meeting despite speculation that he might be quitting Pheu Thai. He declined to talk to reporters.
It had been rumoured Mr Mingkwan was leaving the opposition party after being sidelined by de facto party leader Thaksin Shinawatra.
Mr Mingkwan was once tipped to become Pheu Thai leader. He is said to be disappointed at not being chosen as its prime ministerial candidate and mulled leaving the party.
But Mr Samart, Mr Mingkwan’s close associate, confirmed that Mr Mingkwan would remain with the party and run as a candidate under the list system.
Mr Samart said Mr Mingkwan had lost contact with the party because he was ill. During this time, Mr Mingkwan was also thinking of policies to attract foreign money into the country.
Mr Samart said it would be decided after the House dissolution where on the party list Mr Mingkwan would be placed and whether he would be given a cabinet portfolio.
The top place in the list is reserved for the person vying for the premiership.
A Pheu Thai source said Mr Mingkwan has decided to stay on with Pheu Thai because Thaksin had asked Pongsak Raktapongpaisarn, a former executive of the disbanded Thai Rak Thai Party, to clear the air with Mr Mingkwan.
The source said Thaksin also knew that Mr Mingkwan could not leave Pheu Thai and set up his own party because he has run out of funds.
The source said Mr Mingkwan had spent up to a nine-digit figure to support MPs in his faction for four to five months and cash was now running short.
Thaksin and Mr Pongsak talked with Mr Mingkwan on the phone and were able to convince him to continue to work with Pheu Thai, the source said.
At the same time, Pheu Thai yesterday appointed 10 new party executive members to replace those who quit to avoid being banned from politics if the party is dissolved in the future. Many new executives are lesser-known figures.
ACM Sumeth Phomanee, Gen Warawit Chinanawin and Pol Lt Gen Virote Pao-in were elected deputy party leaders.
Jarupong Ruengsuwan becomes party secretary-general and Wimol Chanjirawutthikul deputy secretary-general.
Preecha Thananant, Pol Lt Gen Chalong Sonjai, Phakin Sommitr, Wim Rungwattanachinda and Chakrapong Saengmanee have been selected to the executive committee. Most new executive members are list MPs or non-MPs.