Look at my face! Paetongtarn rejects rumours of Pheu Thai forming govt with ex-coup leaders
Pheu Thai’s key PM candidate, Paetongtarn Shinawatra, dismissed all rumours of her party forming a coalition government with former coup leaders after the May 14 general election.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, she said Pheu Thai’s popularity rating suffered a slight dent in the latest opinion polls because she had not clearly declared that Pheu Thai would not join “parties from the opposite side”.
She was referring to Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) led by Deputy PM General Prawit Wongsuwan and the United Thai Nation Party, which is fielding Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha for the PM’s post.
Pheu Thai had called the press conference at its headquarters to announce its strategies for the upcoming election.
Paetongtarn is the youngest daughter of Pheu Thai patriarch, former PM Thaksin Shinawatra.
At the press conference, she said her face clearly shows she did not “enjoy” the two coups that ousted her father’s and her aunt’s governments.
Military-led coups ousted Thaksin’s government in 2006 and Yingluck Shinawatra’s in 2014. Prayut and Prawit were the key masterminds behind the coup in 2014.
“About the next coalition government, I want everybody to look at my face – it certainly does not show like I liked the two recent coups,” she said. “I have not answered the question of forming a coalition government clearly yet because I treat voters and this nation with respect. I also didn’t answer these questions because the election has not been held yet.
“But if you ask if I would like to join hands with people who are not on the side of democracy, I will say that people should know the answer well.”
A recent nationwide survey conducted by Nida Poll among 2,000 respondents from April 3-7 showed that Pheu Thai is still the most popular party for constituency and party-list MPs, getting 47.20% and 47%, respectively. But these numbers had dropped by 2.55% for constituency MPs and 2.85% for party-list MPs when compared to a Nida Poll survey on March 19.
Paetongtarn said that though Pheu Thai was still leading in terms of popularity, the party could not become complacent. Instead, it would continue working hard to stop the same prime ministers from returning to power.
She said that since she is set to deliver her second child on May 7, she could not be physically present at provincial rallies. However, she said, she would do her best to communicate with voters via teleconferencing.
Paetongarn also iterated she was ready to take the helm as the next premier, even though her party is fielding property tycoon Srettha Thavisin and former attorney-general Chaikasem Nitisiri as its second and third PM candidates.
“I confirm I am ready to become the prime minister and the other two candidates are also ready. The final outcome will depend on the strategies and results of the election, which is a thing of the future and nobody knows the future now,” she said.
She was responding to claims by deputy PPRP leader Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, who said that even if people vote for Pheu Thai, they will not get Paetongtarn as prime minister. He said the job will instead be given to Srettha because Paetongtarn has still not offloaded her shares in several public companies.
Speaking at the same press conference, Pheu Thai deputy leader Phumtham Wechayachai said the party’s three PM candidates would join the final campaign rally in Bangkok on May 12.
He said that though Chaikasem recently suffered a stroke, he has recovered and is in good health.