Uttama, Sontirat deny they are quitting to jump into politics

Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana and Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong,  who have been linked to a new political party being formed to support Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-o-cha’s return to power, today dismissed a press report that they were resigning from their cabinet posts to go into politics.

“I have never thought about resigning, neither at this moment or in the near future. I will continue to be  industry minister,” Mr Uttama said this morning.

He was responding to a press report that he and Mr Sontirat were about to resign from the Cabinet so that they would devote themselves fully to working for the newly-formed Palang Pracharat Party.  The report claimed that Mr Uttama would be the leader of the new party while Mr Sontirat would be its secretary-general.

Mr Sontirat also confirmed that he had plans to resign as reported.

“I am still working at the Commerce Ministry. It has been reported on a daily basis that I would quit or resign.  This is politics,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak also said the report was groundless, saying the two are still working for the government.  “They are still working here. And the work they are doing is very important,” he said.

Mr Somkid, along with Mr Uttama and Mr Sontirat, are believed to be the force behind the Palang Pracharat Party, which is reportedly designed to be a political vehicle for Gen Prayut to continue to hold onto power after the election.