Thai Raksa Chart becomes talk of town amid premier rumour

Thai Raksa Chart becomes talk of town amid premier rumour

Two of Thai Raksa Chart's PM candidates (wearing garlands) — Chaturon Chaisang (left), chairman of the strategy board, and party leader Lt Preechapol Pongpanich, visit people at Klong Toey Market in Bangkok on Jan 15. (Photo by Apichart Junakul)
Two of Thai Raksa Chart's PM candidates (wearing garlands) — Chaturon Chaisang (left), chairman of the strategy board, and party leader Lt Preechapol Pongpanich, visit people at Klong Toey Market in Bangkok on Jan 15. (Photo by Apichart Junakul)

Thai Raksa Chart, a party linked to Thaksin Shinawatra, is rapidly becoming the talk of the country amid rumours it will announce a shock prime ministerial candidate for March’s election on Friday.

The party became Thailand’s top trending topic on Twitter late Wednesday over speculation about whom it might name. A local media report said the candidate won’t be a member of the Shinawatra family.

Thai Raksa Chart is viewed as an offshoot of the main opposition Pheu Thai Party —- which is also linked to Thaksin — and was established about a decade ago before re-branding and re-launching late last year.

Up until now, Lt Preechapol Pongpanich, party leader, and Chaturon Chaisang, chairman of the strategic board, were touted to be the party’s prime ministerial candidates.

Mr Chaturon, a former deputy prime minister, told the Prachatai news outlet on Thursday afternoon he might no longer be the party’s MP candidate.

“I don’t know who our PM candidate will be since I’m not a party executive. Up until now, I thought I was one of the three. But I haven’t received a consent form for me to sign,” he said, adding the decision on PM candidates rested with party executives.

“Since the deadline for submission of PM candidates is Friday and I have yet to sign the consent form, chances are I might no longer be one,” he added.

Ruephob Shinawatra, deputy leader of Thai Raksa Chart, said the party executives would finalise the list on Thursday and reveal the name before submitting it to the Election Commission.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who last Friday was invited to be one of pro-regime Palang Pracharth Party’s PM candidates, said he would announce his decision whether to accept the offer early on Friday.  

PPRP leader Uttama Savanayana had no comment when asked about Thai Raksa Chart's PM candidate list.

To the question whether the list would have an influence on Gen Prayut’s decision, the former industry minister said it was entirely up to him. “ But I believe he will consider other aspects such as whether he could continue to serve the country or work with PPRP.”

A PM candidate can be disqualified for not having voted in the previous election. However, the 2018 MP law removed the revocation threat, so anyone can be a PM candidate even if he or she did not vote in the previous poll, so long as they vote on March 24.


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