Palang Pracharath Party
Palang Pracharath Party (Thai: พรรคพลังประชารัฐ, RTGS: Phak Phalang Pracharat, literally "People's State Power Party"), also spelled Palang Pracharat is a Thai political party with ties to the National Council for Peace and Order, the military junta that ruled the country after the 2014 coup. It was established in 2018 by Chuan Chuchan and Suchart Jantarachotikul.
The party is led by former Prayut cabinet ministers Uttama Savanayana, Sontirat Sontijirawong, Suvit Maesincee, and Kobsak Pootrakool.
In the 2019 Thai general election, Palang Pracharath's candidate for prime minister was incumbent prime minister and military junta leader, Prayut Chan-o-cha. Although Palang Pracharath came 2nd in the polls, it successfully nominated Prayut and formed a coalition government with votes from 249 senators, and MPs from the Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties.
Palang Pracharath presents Prayuth Chan-o-cha before election, although many political parties support him, Later, it was looked as "Officially supporting Prayuth" Because their leaders was Prayuth's minister and advisors.
Later, they presented their polices is raising the wage to 425 baht, that accused to being as populism and lying.
Dinner fundraiser scandal
On December 19, Palang Pracharath held a 200-table dinner fundraiser raising 600 million baht. During the event, an Isranews journalist obtained a photograph of the floor plan and confirmed its authenticity with event organizers. The map detailed the number of tables purchased by various individuals and organizations. Among the organizations on the floor plan were the Finance Ministry, Tourism Authority of Thailand, and "Bangkok," which is widely believed to be the Bangkok municipal government. This has raised concerns that state agencies were using taxpayers' money to aid the pro-junta party. Concerns were also raised that Palang Pracharath leaders, who are also currently serving as cabinet ministers, used their government positions to solicit funds, which would be illegal.
Others pointed out that the fundraiser was organized within a week after the ban on political activity was lifted. This would not have been possible unless the organizers had insider knowledge of when the ban would be lifted because the venue would have needed to be booked at least a month in advance.
According to the map, party leaders also purchased multiple tables at the fundraiser, also raising concerns. At 3 million baht per table, this would mean that leaders contributed more than the legal maximum of 10 million baht per individual to the party. Additionally, this raised concerns regarding the source of the money.
On this issue, former EC commissioner, Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, stated that if the party leaders used their personal funds to purchase the tables, they would need to be investigated for their unusually high wealth. However, if they purchased tables for other individuals, in effect, hiding their identities in financial disclosures, they may be breaking election, bribery, and money laundering laws.
The Finance Ministry and Tourism Authority of Thailand has denied any links to the fundraiser dinner. Meanwhile, party secretary-general and commerce minister, Sontirat Sontijirawong, stated the map is inauthentic and accused Isranews of spreading false news.
After public outcry, the Election Commission confirmed that they are looking into the matter.
Due to regulations, Palang Pracharath had to publicly release records within a month of the fundraiser. In late January, the party released records accounting for 90 million baht raised at the dinner. The records revealed that most of the donations were either from recipients of government concessions (such as airport duty-free conglomerate King Power) or government contractors.
Palang Pracharath declined to answer questions on the floor plan names suspected of being government entities: Finance Ministry, Tourism Authority of Thailand, and Bangkok municipal government.
According to the party, the other 532 million baht raised were paid for after the fundraising deadline, so those records will be published in the party's donors list at a later date.
State welfare card scandal
n December, a Yasothon province resident alleged that people attempting to collect their state welfare cards were given documentation and forced to join the Palang Pracharath Party. Officials told them that if they refused to join the party, they would not receive state welfare cards. However, if they did, they would also be given 100 baht to assist with transportation.
Palang Pracharath denied any links to state welfare card distribution. The Election Commission stated that they are also looking into this matter.
In late January 2019, Nattawut Saikua, a Thai Raksa Chart politician raised concerns about Palang Pracharath using state welfare cards to solicit support from voters. He cited several reports of state welfare card owners receiving phone calls from individuals asking them to vote for Palang Pracharath to ensure continued support for the program. Nattawut believes that these individuals are either government workers or linked to the government in some manner because of their access to records of card holders.