As expected, Charupong Ruangsuwan was elected unchallenged as the new leader of the ruling Pheu Thai Party today to replace Yongyuth Vichaidith who quit to avoid a legal controversy.
Charupong has come a long way. His rise was also quite predictable since he was named to the Cabinet even before Yingluck Shinawatra became prime minister.
He was asked on radio just now whether he would consult Thaksin Shinawatra in what he will do now as party leader. His answer was direct and unmistakable: "Khun Thaksin is an important person of the party. He was the founder of Thai Rak Thai which became Palang Prachachon after it was disbanded. Now, I don't consider him a criminal. He has done nothing wrong. So, it would be quite natural for me and the other party members to consult him over various policy issues."
Asked whether he could work with Bhoomtham Vejjayachai, who was named party secretary-general, Charupong, who has moved from the communications portfolio to the interior ministry's top post int he new line-up, was quick to declare:
"We can work very well together," he said.
And when the radio programme host teased him: "Who's boss, you or the secretary general?" His prompt response was: "Oh, we consult each other. We work together."