Prominent Pheu Thai figures have backed former transport minister Chadchart Sittipunt as a candidate for the Bangkok governor election.
Pheu Thai secretary-general Anudith Nakornthap said on Monday the candidate will be decided by the party’s executive board.
“However, in my opinion, Chadchart Sittipunt, a key member of Pheu Thai, is the most qualified candidate due to his ability and experience,” said Gp Capt Anudith. “If Mr Chadchart agrees, the party is ready to fully support him.”
Rumours have swirled that Phayao governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn, who gained fame for his leading role in the Tham Luang cave rescue in Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district, will be chosen by the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) as its candidate for the Bangkok governor election.
“I don’t want to say anything about it. Right now, when I talk either in the left or right direction this could become an issue,” said Mr Narongsak on Monday.
Gp Capt Anudith expressed no concern over the possibility of Mr Narongsak running in the gubernatorial election under the banner of the PPRP.
“In competing in the Bangkok governor election we cannot judge only on individual ability. It's necessary to take into account political parties’ policies as well as other elements,” said Gp Capt Anudith.
Another key Pheu Thai member, Panthongtae “Oak” Shinawatra, son of fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, said he personally supports Mr Chadchart as a candidate for the election.
“He is a knowledgeable and capable person,” said Mr Panthongtae. “He is a very suitable choice.”
“I would be very glad if he decides to stand in the election under the banner of Pheu Thai since we would have more confidence that the party would win.”
Democrat spokesman Rames Ratanachaweng dismissed reports the party had been asked by the coalition leader, PPRP, not to field a candidate in the election.
“Our party has never been contacted or asked by anybody not to field a candidate,” said Mr Rames.
He said his party has several capable individuals suitable for the job. The executive board would decide oon a suitable candidate.
Digital Economy and Society Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta, an executive member of the PPRP, said the party has not yet invited anyone to stand in the election.
However, the party’s candidate must have a track record of achievement and thorough understanding of Bangkok's problems, he said.
According to Mr Buddhipongse, the Bangkok governor needs to coordinate well with other agencies and his party is open for capable people to apply. “There is no need for them to be PPRP members,” he said.
However, he personally agreed that Mr Narongsak is the most suitable choice, since his capability has been widely recognised.
Suchatchavee Suwansawas, rector of King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, brushed aside rumours that he would stand in the election.
“This is only a rumour. I still enjoy the job I am doing,” he said.