Pheu thai members beg sudarat to run for governor

Pressure is growing on Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan to stand as the Pheu Thai Party's candidate in the Bangkok governor election next year despite having said several times that she is not interested.

A candidate in 2000, she admits she is now in a difficult position after supporters sent her a letter saying, "If she denies the candidacy, she would be nothing but a commander who deserts an army."

Khunying Sudarat earlier wrote on her Facebook page that she would not run in the race because she is carrying out an important mission to restore the birthplace of the Lord Buddha in Nepal.

As a chair of the project committee, Khunying Sudarat said she wanted to devote herself to the work, which also aims at paying tribute to Their Majesties the King and the Queen.

With the relentless pressure on her, Khunying Sudarat said she would consider the request and might make a final decision after returning from Nepal, where she will work on the project between Nov 23-28.

Pheu Thai has so far not decided who will represent the party in the election.

Reports have suggested possible candidates such as Pol Gen Pongsapat Pongcharoen, secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, and Pol Gen Priewpan Damapong, a former national police chief and former brother-in-law of Thaksin Shinawatra.

Because of the lack of a consensus, many Pheu Thai city and district councillors in Bangkok and former Bangkok MP candidates, want Khunying Sudarat to run.

They met with other Pheu Thai members on Friday to discuss the party's preparations for the election, scheduled for Feb 17.

The meeting became heated when key Pheu Thai member and former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat, who was there as an observer, said the party plans to field Pol Gen Pongsapat, a source said.

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Writer: Nattaya Chetchotiros & Aekarach Sattaburuth