BANGKOK, June 9 (The Nation Thailand/ANN): Move Forward Party leader and potential prime minister Pita Limjaroenrat visited Phuket to thank his supporters on Friday, after the party swept all three of the island province’s constituencies in the May 14 general election.
Nationally, Move Forward won 14 million votes compared to the 6 million its predecessor, Future Forward, won in the 2019 general election, he told a rally at a sports complex in Kathu district.
"I am here as a tourism ambassador, as someone who promoted a progressive liquor bill, as leader of the political party with three Phuket MPs ready to serve its residents, and as the next prime minister," he said.
He said he valued the support he and his party received from Phuket's voters, calling them the "Andaman pearls" in his heart.
"You guys are Andaman pearls in my heart," he said, "I promise I will not make you regret [your support]."
He pledged to promote Phuket’s bid to host a Specialised Expo in 2028, adding that the event’s host will be announced in Paris on June 21. There are five contenders: Thailand, the United States, Argentina, Serbia, and Spain.
Pita said he was ready to help Phuket fully revive its tourism industry, noting that the island had only welcomed 1.7 million tourists so far this year compared to 8 million a year before the pandemic.
As prime minister he will focus on the economy, public health, the environment, drugs, and corruption, Pita said.
After the meeting with Phuket residents, Pita spoke with provincial business leaders about infrastructure, inequality, and the environment.
Kongsak Koopongsakorn, president of the Phuket Chamber of Commerce, thanked Move Forward members for listening to issues in the province that have been raised for the past 30 years.
Kongsak said he hoped a Move Forward-led government would boost Phuket's annual gross domestic product from 450 billion baht to 2 trillion baht without leaving anyone behind. - The Nation Thailand/ANN