Ruling Pheu Thai Party gets new leader

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BANGKOK, Oct 30 – The ruling Pheu Thai Party on Monday elected Jarupong Ruangsuwan as its new party leader after the resignation of its former leader Yongyuth Vichaidit.

The party members voted 332 out of 334 for Mr Jarupong, the party’s former secretary-general, while two ballots were voided in a secret balloting. Mr Jarupong, now interior minister, was born in 1946. He was permanent-secretary for justice and then labour before retiring from government service.

He decided to enter politics by joining the now-defunct People’s Power Party and then the ruling Pheu Thai Party where he served as secretary-general in the era of Mr Yongyuth’s leadership.

The new Pheu Thai leader was previously transport minister before being reshuffled to the interior ministry to replace Mr Yongyuth who resigned early this month. The National Anti-Corruption Commission ruled he had unlawfully endorsed the sale of monastic land owned by Wat Thammikaram to Alpine Real Estate and the Alpine Golf and Sports Club while he was deputy permanent secretary for interior in 2002.

The ruling party also elected deputy premier/finance minister Kittiratt Na Ranong and deputy premier Plodprasob Surasawadi as deputy party leaders, while Phumtham Wechayachai was chosen as the party’s secretary-general.