Paetongtarn admits she’s unprepared to become next prime minister

SATURDAY, MAY 25, 2024

Pheu Thai Party leader says current PM Srettha able to defend himself against Constitutional Court case

Pheu Thai Party leader Paetongtarn Shinawatra has admitted that she is not prepared to become the next prime minister if Srettha Thavisin is removed from office.

Both are prime-ministerial candidates from the ruling party.

Srettha, who became Thailand’s current prime minister last August, is being tried by the Constitutional Court in a case in which he is accused of violating the Constitution for appointing Pichit Chuenban as minister of the Prime Minister’s Office despite his alleged lack of qualifications as per the charter.

In their petition, a group of 40 senators who took the case to court through the Senate president pointed to a 2008 Supreme Court order that sentenced Pichit to six months in prison for contempt of court after he was found to have attempted to bribe court officials with 2 million baht. At that time, he was representing former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in a conflict-of-interest case.

Paetongtarn, 37, is the youngest daughter of Thaksin, who is regarded as the patriarch of the ruling party.

When asked if she was ready to become the next prime minister, Paetongtarn said on Friday: “I have not prepared regarding this matter. I think it is not necessary as the prime minister has continued to do his job and I am still the party leader.”

Regarding a question regarding a possible “plan B”, the Pheu Thai leader said she saw no problems because Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin was still performing his duties and focusing on tackling the country’s economic problems for the people.

Paetongtarn also said that she was convinced Srettha would be able to explain himself clearly in the case against him.

“I am sure the Constitutional Court will issue a verdict that is in favour of the prime minister. And I believe that he will remain in office,” she said.

When asked if the latest move by the senators was a political game, Paetongtarn said she viewed this matter as part of a parliamentary checks-and-balances process. “The system should be allowed to work normally, or the country can’t move forward,” she said.