Thaksin’s daughter to take centre stage at Pheu Thai election campaign launch

BANGKOK (The Nation/Asia News Network): The main opposition Pheu Thai Party will launch its election campaign during its party caucus next Tuesday (Dec 6) where the youngest daughter of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will speak about her vision for Thailand’s future, Pheu Thai leaders said.

The event was announced at a joint press conference held by Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew, party secretary-general Prasert Chanruangthong and party spokeswoman Teerarat Samretwanich.

The party will hold its caucus from 10am on Tuesday at its head office and will use the opportunity to launch its election campaign, Cholnan said, adding that Pheu Thai – which means “For Thais” – will run under the slogan “Think Big, Act Smart, For All Thais”.

The highlight of the event will be a speech delivered by Paetongtarn Shinawatra (pic), head of Pheu Thai Family Project and chief advisor of the party’s committee on participation and innovation. She is expected to focus on Pheu Thai’s readiness to lead Thailand to a better future.

An election candidate selection committee will be elected in the afternoon, and vacant seats will be filled, Cholnan added.

Paetongtarn, 37, is the youngest daughter of Thaksin, a populist billionaire who was elected prime minister in 2001 when his Thai Rak Thai (“Thais Love Thais”) party swept to power. Thaksin was ousted in a coup in 2006, following intense street protests against him, a deadly war on drugs, and allegations of massive corruption.

He has lived in self-imposed exile since then, but continues to dabble in politics through his female relatives. His sister subsequently served as prime minister before she, too, was ousted in a coup.

Paetongtarn is the top choice for Thailand’s next prime minister in every region of the country except the South and Bangkok, according to opinion surveys. She is also the most popular prime ministerial candidate, a nationwide survey.

Although Pheu Thai has not yet announced that she will be its candidate for prime minister, her rising popularity leaves little doubt it will, observers say.

Cholnan said the Pheu Thai will launch its election campaign at next Tuesday’s caucus after the Constitutional Court ruled the new MPs election bill was legal.

The court ruled Wednesday that the bill did not violate the charter as a group of 105 MPs and senators claimed. The ruling cleared all hurdles for the Election Commission to hold the next election – tentatively scheduled for May 7.

“The party’s caucus will clearly show to the public that if Pheu Thai becomes the coalition leader after the 2023 election by winning a landslide, the party will be able to bring significant changes to the country that will make the future of Thai children better,” Cholnan said.

Armed with its new slogan, “Pheu Thai will fill in its picture for Thailand’s future. The big picture will define how the country needs to be changed,” Cholnan explained.

The Pheu Thai leader said his party will run candidates in every constituency in the country’s 77 provinces.

He urged party supporters to watch the caucus live via its social network platforms.

Paetongtarn has been leading Pheu Thai teams to announce tentative election candidates in several provinces. She has urged party supporters to ensure Pheu Thai wins by a landslide so that it can form a government.

Pheu Thai needs an overwhelming majority to neutralise votes from senators when Parliament elects the next prime minister. Members of the upper chamber, who are appointed, are expected to vote for incumbent Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Ch.

Apart from kicking off its election campaign, and electing new executives, Pue Thai will also amend several of its internal regulations to bring them into line with the new MPs election law, Prasert said.

He said the Pheu Thai would also introduce a series of experts in fields like economics, education and labour who will represent the party and talk to the media on policies relevant to their expertise.

“We are ready to enter election mode and enter the election arena. Our personnel and policies are ready. We’re ready to be the next coalition leader,” Prasert said.

Teerarat said the party’s committees have been working hard to draft the best policy platform for the people. The platform will be announced on Tuesday, he said, urging people to watch the event live.

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