Billionaire activist holds out hope of new era

Billionaire activist holds out hope of new era

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, an outdoor lover, could shake up the traditional image of politics reserved to the old phuyai. (FB/thanathorn.juangroongruangkit)
Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, an outdoor lover, could shake up the traditional image of politics reserved to the old phuyai. (FB/thanathorn.juangroongruangkit)

Canada has 46-year-old Justin Trudeau as prime minister. France has Emmanuel Macron, 40. New Zealand has Jacinda Ardern, 37. What kind of a national leader will Thailand have after the election next year?

Many of us may just sigh and think of the old faces of our "phuyai", nearly twice the age of those young leaders -- the ruthless Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha or perhaps a nominee of Thaksin Shinawatra, or a younger face of, well if it happens again, Abhisit Vejjajiva.

The emerging possibility of a new party to be set up and run by 39-year-old Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, executive vice-president of parts-maker Thai Summit Group and a social activist, and 38-year-old Thammasat University law expert Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, is thrilling enough that it has triggered public debate about a new wave of people entering Thai politics and possibly the country's government after the election tentatively set for next year.

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Surasak Glahan

Deputy Op-ed Editor

Surasak Glahan is deputy op-ed pages editor, Bangkok Post.

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