Snob for troubled Thai PM as ministers boycott cabinet meeting

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The failure to show up for ministers from the Bhumjaithai party, the coalition’s second largest member, could be another embarrassment for Prayuth, whose Palang Pracharat party was forced last month to evict a faction that controlled 21 parliamentary seats, l accusing him of causing disunity.

The boycott concerned their opposition to a government plan to extend BTS Group Holdings’ concession to operate the Green Line of Bangkok’s elevated rail system for 30 years, arguing that fares would be increased. The extension is backed by another party in Prayuth’s coalition.

It was not immediately clear what impact, if any, the no-show would have on the government and Prayuth declined to speak to reporters after the cabinet meeting.

Prayuth’s open snub, however, underscores the growing chaos in his coalition ahead of his final 12 months in power, said political scientist Titipol Phakdeewanich.

“Power negotiations are becoming more public between government factions, each raising their stakes as elections approach,” said Titipol, of Ubon Ratchathani University.

The government has also struggled to mobilize lawmakers to pass laws, with internal sessions having been canceled four times so far this year due to a lack of quorum, compared to eight times in 2021 and once in 2020.

Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said on Tuesday the cabinet had decided to refer the rail proposal to the Home Ministry for consultation with other opposing agencies.

(Reporting by Panu Wongcha-um and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Martin Petty)

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