Varawut touted as PM pick
Newly chosen Chartthaipattana Party leader Varawut Silpa-archa has what it takes to be nominated as a candidate for prime minister in the next election, according to Nikorn Chamnong, a list MP who sits on the party's policy and strategic committee.
To do this, the party aims to win enough House seats to qualify it to put forth Mr Varawut as a candidate, he said.
Section 159 of the constitution stipulates that only a political party with at least 25 seats (5% of the 500 House seats) can nominate a prime ministerial candidate for a joint sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate to vote on.
Mr Varawut, who serves as Natural Resources and Environment Minister, was elected leader of the coalition party on Monday, replacing his elder sister Kanchana. She stepped down as party leader on Sept 20.
He chaired a meeting of party executives as the leader for the first time yesterday as the executive board appointed a committee responsible for directing party affairs, headed by Ms Kanchana.
Mr Nikorn said yesterday that presenting party policies to tackle problems is more important than touting who will be poll candidates or a candidate for prime minister.
Mr Nikorn insisted that Chartthaipattana has no intention to compete with other parties for the prime ministerial position. "We only want to compete with ourselves," he said.
Chartthaipattana currently has 12 MPs representing provinces in the Central Plains region.
Mr Varawut and Ms Kanchana are the children of previous party leader Banharn Silpa-archa who led what was then called the Chart Thai Party to victory in the 1995 election to become the country's 21st prime minister.
Banharn died on April 23, 2016, at the age of 83.
Meanwhile, Bhumjaithai Party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Thursday that his party aims to secure at least 120 House seats at the next polls, adding that the party will try as hard as it can to achieve this goal.