Published on October 7, 2007
Prachai quit the party on Friday to lead his own organisation and seek the job of prime minister.
Matchima leader Somsak Thepsuthin said Prachai would lead a new party.
Some 70 politicians were present with Somsak during yesterday's news conference. These included Somsak's wife and former Pracharaj Party secretary, Anongwan Thepsuthin, and its former spokesman, Narong Piriya-anek, who represents Prachai.
Anongwan said there were several reasons for the split. She described the elements of Prachai's policy platform as more attuned to the group. These, she said, included agricultural-price guarantees and a subsidised, Bt15 fixed-rate subway fare.
She said the group trusted Prachai - with his extensive business background - would make these policies work.
The group added it wanted to maintain truly "central-leaning policies" and pursue its agenda in a "creative" fashion.
She added former TPI boss Prachai was fit to be the next prime minister because of his business experience.
A recent poll revealed people wanted an economic leader to run the country and Prachai was a brave and able person, Anongwan explained.
When it was pointed out that Prachai had to be bailed out by the state after the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Anongwan defended Prachai, saying it was not his fault but that of then-prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, who "mismanaged the crisis".
She added that the group had no problem with Pracharaj Party leader Snoh Thienthong but, after having read harsh remarks made by Snoh about them, Anongwan said she would not meet Snoh in person.
The decision to quit was taken quickly and followed by a round of applause. Registration forms for a political party named Matchima were given to members immediately after the vote.
Meanwhile, Snoh told reporters yesterday the conflict between himself and Prachai was not serious but admitted it included Prachai's "expensive and lofty" policies.
"If, when the time comes, these cannot be materialised it would be tantamount to fooling citizens," Snoh said.
"Prachai is brilliant at everything except politics, where he is a beginner at kindergarten level. Neither does he have contacts nor does he understand politics. And, I say this as someone who cares and loves him as a younger brother," Snoh said.
He said there were differences of opinion over candidates, too.
Prachai yesterday countered Snoh's remarks, saying he might be a beginner at politics unlike some older politicians "who are well versed in the art of vote-buying".
"I'll sell policies that enable people to have better livelihoods and make the country rich. I have no policies where temple land is converted into a golf course."
Prachai alleged the only policy Snoh had was vote-buying.