The Palang Chon Party team is introduced to
a large crowd at their party formation celebration in Bangsaen.
With the establishment of a new political party,
Chonburi’s powerful Kunplome family is hoping a visage of independence
from Thailand’s warring red and yellow factions will lead it to solid
wins in July’s national elections.
Sonthaya Kunplome, banned from politics for five years after serving as
a Tourism & Sports Minister in Thaksin Shinawatra’s disbanded Thai Rak
Thai Party, announced May 6 the formation of “Palang Chon,” or the
“Force of Chonburi” Party to a crowd of about 20,000 supporters.
As he cannot hold office again until at least the end of 2012, Sonthaya
said Chao Maneewong, former dean of Burapha University, will lead the
party, with the eldest Kunplome brother serving as “advisor.”
At the press conference in Bangsaen, Sonthaya said he hopes to see
Palang Chon win as many as 15 seats in the upcoming parliamentary
elections. The party will contest elections in Thailand’s east, north
and northeast, although most expect the party to gain most of its wins
in Chonburi, where his brothers Wittaya and Itthiphol are, respectively,
CEO of the Chonburi Administrative Organization and mayor of Pattaya.
In Chonburi, the party will put up candidates in all eight constituency
zones, including Sonthaya’s wife, Sukumol, in zone 6, which covers the
Banglamung/Pattaya district and Poramet Ngampichet contesting in zone 7.
Poramet is the son of Sansak Ngampichet, former health minister and
former chairman of the house committee on tourism and sports. Sansak was
also named as a party list candidate.
The party will also invite five members of the Social Action Party,
which was founded by Kukrit Pramoj in 1974, to join them. The party
advocates social conservatism, pro-free-enterprise fiscal policies, and
The Kunplome clan has been a force in Chonburi politics for four decades
with Somchai “Kamnan Poh” Kunplome fathering four sons who’ve gone on to
positions of power on the provincial and national political theatre.
The family has long maintained a position as a small faction of whatever
national party held power, but retained its local influence in large
part to its independent streak.