Srettha tipped as contender for PM

Srettha tipped as contender for PM

Could easily beat Prayut: Surapong

Sansiri chief executive and president Srettha Thavisin (Sansiri Plc photo)
Sansiri chief executive and president Srettha Thavisin (Sansiri Plc photo)

Srettha Thavisin, chief executive of real estate developer Sansiri, could easily beat Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha if he agreed to put his name down as the main opposition Pheu Thai Party's prime ministerial candidate, said Surapong Suebwonglee, a former Pheu Thai senior member.

People want a new prime minister other than Gen Prayut and Mr Srettha is definitely a better choice to take over, Dr Surapong said.

"Today, anyone with prowess in economic affairs possesses inherent leadership ability," he said.

Pheu Thai has highlighted economic issues as driving decisions at the next poll, which the party expects to take place next year, well ahead of the government's tenure.

Many critics believe Gen Prayut's maximum, eight-year tenure as prime minister will end in August next year, which would pave the way for the House to be dissolved and a general election called.

The tenure issue, however, remains highly debatable and it looks likely to be referred to the Constitutional Court for clarification, according to observers.

Mr Srettha has been the subject of strong speculation as someone who could stand as Pheu Thai's prime ministerial candidate. He is reportedly a close friend of former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra of the ousted Pheu Thai-led administration.

Yesterday, Dr Surapong said the country was seeking a new leader and in terms of qualifications, Mr Srettha would make a far better choice as prime minister than Gen Prayut.

Dr Surapong previously served as a senior executive of the now-defunct Thai Rak Thai Party (TRT) founded by former premier Thaksin Shinawatra. The TRT was later reincarnated into the People Power Party (PPP). Like the TRT, the PPP was disbanded for electoral fraud. After the PPP's demise, Pheu Thai was established.

Mr Srettha is recognised as an experienced executive with a firm grasp of the country's economic situation.

However, it is up to Mr Srettha if he will take an interest in politics. If Pheu Thai extends a formal offer for him to stand as its prime ministerial candidate and he agreed to it, Dr Surapong said he would support Mr Srettha.

Dr Surapong discounted the possibility of individuals in or close to the Shinawatra family aspiring to be prime ministerial candidates on Pheu Thai's ticket.

Meanwhile, Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Thai Constitution, said he planned to petition the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Election Commission to disband Pheu Thai for allegedly being dominated by a party outsider today.

The activist accused the party of letting itself come under Thaksin's sway.

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