By The Nation
THANATHORN Juangroongruangkit, 39, vice executive chairman of Thai Summit Group, a multi-billion-baht automotive parts maker, appears to have won his family’s endorsement to set up a new political party which he suggests will offer a significant alternative choice to voters at the next general election.
Thanathorn is expected to join forces with Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, an academic from Thammasat University’s Faculty of Law. Writing on his Facebook page, Thanathorn, an activist for the poor and nephew of former transport minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit, said his mother had recently given him the green light to enter politics.
The Thanathorn-Piyabutr pair are seen as leading the bid to challenge the political establishment by offering a new generation of voters more choices of personalities and policy platforms, building on their previous grassroots efforts to help the poor and underprivileged.
Thanathorn, whose family’s business empire generates more than Bt80 billion in annual sales, said his siblings had extended moral support for his political journey and his mother Somporn had expressed no objection.
According to Thanathorn, who inherited the family’s multi-billion-baht business after his father’s death a few years ago, he received his mother’s tacit approval after telling her that he would choose to work for the country’s future rather than Thai Summit Group.
Meanwhile, the Suan Dusit poll, covering a sample of 1,083 people ending on Saturday, showed that the public expects new political parties to have high ethical standards, to be honest and not to enter into corrupt practices.
Since March 2, 42 new political parties have been registered with the Election Commission, giving voters more choices at the next general election. The Suan Dusit poll shows that, if they want to develop support, these new parties need to have the capability to tackle economic challenges to boost people’s well-being and national development.
The poll respondents also supported the need for a new generation of political leaders who are younger and competent, with policy platforms that are innovative and avoid politics that lead to divisiveness and conflict.
A 51.7 per cent majority of respondents expressed a hope that new parties would be able to serve people’s interests, but 48.2 per cent were concerned that these new parties and their candidates would be just like previous elected politicians.
Overall, the majority of respondents hoped that newcomers in the political arena would listen to the people and be effective in addressing their issues with transparency and accountability.