Thaksin's comments on returning home a boon for Prayut, says aide

TUESDAY, MAY 02, 2023

An aide of outgoing Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Tuesday that former premier Thaksin Shinawatra’s comments about wanting to return to Thailand will sway the silent majority’s vote.

Thanakorn Wangboonkonghchana, deputy leader of the United Thai Nation Party (UTNP), said Thaksin’s announcement that he wants to return home will be a boon for Prayut because the silent majority will be reminded of the work the former general has done.

“I believe most Thais understand what Prayut has done for the country over the past eight years,” Thanakorn said.

“If the problematic person on the other side speaks so often, people will be reminded more of Prayut and it will benefit us in the election.”

Thanakorn was referring to a Twitter message from Thaksin on Monday in which he said he wanted to return home to be with his grandchildren.

“As I will turn 74 this July, I want to ask for permission to return to look after my grandchild. See you soon,” the tweet read.

The fugitive former premier posted this message after his youngest daughter, Paetongtarn Shinawatra, delivered her second child on Monday.

Political observers and academics believe Thaksin said this to help Pheu Thai achieve its goal of a landslide victory in the May 14 general election. Observers believe Pheu Thai and Thaksin fear the increasingly popular Move Forward Party, an ally in the so-called democracy camp, will steal a significant number of House seats.

Thanakorn, however, said he believes the election will eventually boil down to a fight between the side that supports Prayut and the side that votes for Pheu Thai.

He said voters who choose Bhumjaithai or Move Forward will not be swayed, but Thaksin’s comment may prompt the silent majority to opt for Prayut.

“I see the way that Thaksin has spoken so often will influence some people’s decision, especially the big chunk of people who are undecided,” Thanakorn said.

Thaksin\'s comments on returning home a boon for Prayut, says aide