Friday, August 22, 2008

Puea Thai party in talks on new home

Puea Thai party in talks on new home

Shinawatra Thai Silk building eyed as HQ

The Shinawatra Thai Silk building has started clearance sales to make way for the Puea Thai party, a new political party registered by a group of People Power party (PPP) MPs, who want to move in.

The ground floor of the building on Rama IV road, where silk products are sold, will be used as the headquarters of the Puea Thai party, a back-up for the ruling PPP, said a source. Clearance sales have been started to sell off stock, by September this year.

Songkhram Kitlertpairoj, a PPP MP for Samut Prakan and one of the people who registered the party, said negotiations were being held with the building owner over rental fees.

Puea Thai would not occupy the whole building, he said. The party would rent some parts of the building for its headquarters.

The party was set up as PPP members prepare for the expected dissolution of their party.

Mr Songkhram refused to confirm that former permanent secretary of the interior Sudjarit Patchimnand would be chosen to lead the party, saying Mr Sudjarit was one of several choices.

The new party would hold its general assembly within 1-2 months to elect its executives. Former PPP candidates and former party MPs have applied for party membership.

Surawit Khonsomboon, a PPP MP for Chaiyaphum, said several party MPs had visited their constituencies and told local residents that the PPP, if dissolved, already had a new home in the Puea Thai party.

Sakda Khongphet, a PPP MP for Roi Et, said Puea Thai was ready to enter the political race as the Election Commission had already endorsed the party.

He said all factions of the PPP, including veteran politician Newin Chidchob's faction, would move to Puea Thai if the PPP was dissolved.

''Mr Thaksin earlier told me the PPP would not survive. However, we are not worried as some phuyai [senior figures] in our party have already prepared the Puea Thai as a new home.

''Those who see the abbreviations or the logo of the new party will understand that it is Mr Thaksin's party. Thor means Thaksin and Phor means Potjaman [Mr Thaksin's wife],'' said Mr Sakda.

Boonjong Wongtrairat, a PPP MP for Nakhon Ratchasima, said he would seek a party resolution over whether to continue supporting Samak Sundaravej as the party leader and the prime minister during the party's meeting on Tuesday.

The PPP would collapse if there were rifts among party members, he said. To protect the party, he would ask party MPs to continue to support Mr Samak.

Meanwhile, a group of PPP MPs said they would not vote for two draft amendments involving the Constitution Court's handling of cases and the court's consideration of criminal cases against political office holders.

Sunai Jullapongsathorn, a list MP for PPP, said the many PPP MPs disagreed with the draft amendments as the drafts went against democracy, which promotes the balance of the legislative, executive and judiciary branches. However, the draft amendments, proposed by the judiciary branch, had bypassed the executive and legislative branches, he said.

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