Anutin throws his hat into the ring for PM’s post, eyes 120 MP seats for Bhumjaithai


Anutin Charnvirakul, leader of ruling coalition member Bhumjaithai Party, reiterated his readiness on Thursday to become prime minister after the next general election.

He said that his party has the potential to win at least 120 seats in the House of Representatives, as had been predicted by its de-facto patriarch, Newin Chidchob.

“We are not kidding about this. We must be doing our best, going all out and not slowing down,” Public Health Minister Anutin told reporters.

Newin had said during his birthday celebration on Tuesday in Buri Ram province that he expected Bhumjaithai to win no fewer than 120 seats at the next national vote, which would boost the party’s position in forming the next government.

Once a political heavyweight allied with former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Newin quit politics many years ago. But he has retained his influence in Bhumjaithai although he holds no executive position. His younger brother, Saksayam Chidchob, is the party’s secretary-general and serves as transport minister in the present Cabinet.

Anutin said on Thursday that all Bhumjaithai MPs and members would work hard by visiting their constituencies to “charge at the problems right away”.

He said that his party would do things that benefit people, and not just its campaign promises. “For example, free kidney dialysis was not in the party’s policy platform. Now it can be done.”

When asked if he was afraid that the PM’s seat would also bring suffering, Anutin responded: “You certainly get hurt when you enter politics. There is always criticism, but that’s understandable. The job involves the people of the whole country.”

When asked if he was worried about other parties getting upset by defections of their incumbent MPs to Bhumjaithai. Anutin said moving between parties was “something normal” for Thai politicians, noting that he had himself moved to many parties before settling with Bhumjaithai.