Paetongtarn seeks new ‘family members’ as Pheu Thai’s PM candidate
The leading opposition party, Pheu Thai, came together for a “family activity” in Udon Thani on Sunday to seek new ordinary party members and to announce Paetongtarn Shinawatra as its prime ministerial candidate.
At the event entitled “Pheu Thai Family: Large Home with Same Heart”, which was held at the Monthatip Convention Hall, Paetongtarn announced that she aims to recruit up to 14 million new members to the “Pheu Thai Family”.
Paetongtarn, the youngest daughter of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, was appointed as chief of the party’s advisory committee on participation and innovation in October last year. This is the first time since her appointment that Paetongtarn has participated in a public event.
Also present at the event were Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew and several other senior party members including Pheu Thai secretary-general Prasert Chanruangthong, and deputy party leader Sutin Klungsang.
After Cholnan and other top party members addressed supporters, Paetongtarn went on stage to call on Udon Thani residents to apply for Pheu Thai membership.
“Pheu Thai has several policies for helping people. We are waiting for the right time because our goal is to form a government. This dictatorial regime must go and Pheu Thai must set up a government and become the coalition leader,” she said.
“To achieve this, we need support from the people. So, I would like people to participate in our activities and apply to become members. We have initiated the ‘Large Home with Same Heart’ project because we aim to gain 14 million members as we had before.”
Paetongtarn added that the “Pheu Thai Family” has overcome many changes and obstacles over the past 23 years when it first started as the now-defunct Thai Rak Thai Party.
“This home has grown and changed. It has also survived a lot of obstacles and has lost some people during its journey over the past 23 years,” she said.
“Experience is our key advantage and I can proudly say we have more experience than other parties. When we were the government, we were able to successfully implement our policies. We became a single-party government that completed its four-year term and was elected again.”
She added that though Pheu Thai has made some mistakes, these mistakes have helped the party learn and improve itself.
“Now it’s time for Pheu Thai to change and meet people’s needs. We must transform Pheu Thai into a better version and keep its good DNA. We must also never forget people at the grassroots level who have supported us from the very start,” Paetongtarn said.
Sutin, who delivered the opening speech, said Thai Rak Thai had been formed during the Tom Yam Kung financial crisis in 1997 and swept up House seats to form the government of prime minister Thaksin.
He said Thaksin’s government made history by becoming the first government to balance the budget, yet it was brought down by a coup that destroyed the Thai Rak Thai family when the party was dissolved.
In his speech, Prasert said the People Power family was formed after the 2007 charter and the party swept up 233 House seats, allowing it to form a government for the third time. Yet it was dissolved again before being reborn as the “new family home” called Pheu Thai.
Cholnan reminded supporters that though Pheu Thai won the election again, its victory was stolen by a new charter that was written just so the coup-makers could stay in power.
The Pheu Thai has announced that it will soon hold Pheu Thai Family activities in eight other provinces, namely Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Phanom, Nong Khai, Chiang Mai, Samut Prakan, Songkhla, Pattani and Bangkok.