ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Transport minister expected to be Thailand ruling party's new leader
Reports have it that former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, seen by many as the ruling party's de-facto leader, has given the nod to Charupong assuming the party's top post after the minister flew overseas to meet him.
Charupong is believed to have a good image and similar characteristics as former Pheu Thai Party leader Yongyuth Wichaidit, who stepped down after the Civil Service Commission found him guilty of malfeasance in relation to the Alpine land controversy. It is believed that Charupong would make a good leader due to his allegiance to the party and wide acceptance among the red shirts.
Another party source said several Pheu Thai members who met Thaksin in London had been told that Energy Minister Arak Chonlatanon might replace Charupong as party secretary-general.
Meanwhile, Police Lt-General Viroj Pao-in was voted as caretaker leader of the Pheu Thai Party yesterday morning - while the general assembly to formally select a new party leader is due at the end of the month.
After a meeting of caretaker party executives, Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit said Viroj was the most senior of six deputy party leaders and an expert on the law and familiar with its regulations.
Viroj joined only Pheu Thai just before the 2011 general election, but has become caretaker leader following the resignation of Yongyuth Wichaidit.
Before becoming an MP, Viroj entered politics as a deputy interior minister in the short-lived Suchinda Kraprayoon government on April 17, 1992. He held the position just over a month until May 24, 1992.
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Before joining the Suchinda Cabinet, Viroj sat on the Assets Examination Committee, set up following the coup against the Chatichai Government in 1991.
the 2005 general election Viroj was beaten by a new-face candidate with
Thai Rak Thai, Penchisa Hongupthamchai. He later joined Pheu Thai and
became a deputy leader and contested the 2011 election as its No-17
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