Pheu Thai's Paetongtarn woos southern voters

Pheu Thai's Paetongtarn woos southern voters

Reporters and supporters take pictures of Pheu Thai executives and candidates during a rally in Nakhon Si Thammarat on Sunday. (Photo: Nujaree Rakrun)
Reporters and supporters take pictures of Pheu Thai executives and candidates during a rally in Nakhon Si Thammarat on Sunday. (Photo: Nujaree Rakrun)

NAKHON SI THAMMARAT: The Pheu Thai Party introduced Paetongtarn "Ung-ing" Shinawatra as its potential candidate for the post of prime minister in a major rally in this southern province on Sunday.

The party vowed to field candidates in all 58 southern constituencies in the upcoming general election in a move toward a landslide victory.

The rally at the province's main auditorium in Muang district was attended by about 10,000 local residents.

Ms Paetongtarn, head of Pheu Thai's Inclusion and Innovation Adviser committees and also dubbed 'head of the Pheu Thai family', was joined at the rally by other party executives, including party leader Dr Cholnan Srikaew and Nattawut Saikuar, director of the Pheu Thai family project.

Dr Cholnan said that for the past eight years, southerners had suffered hardship and been deprived of their rights and liberties.

"If you want to get out of poverty and see a bright future for your children, please take Pheu Thai in the hearts of all southerners. With your supporting votes, we hope to win with a landslide, not only in the South but all over the country. We need to win more than 250 seats in the House of Representatives in order to outnumber the 250 senators," he said.

Dr Cholnan said he hoped Pheu Thai's popularity rating in the South would rise from 13% to 25% or higher since the party had introduced Ms Paetongtarn as its potential prime ministerial candidate.

He said Pheu Thai would field candidates in all 58 constituencies in the South. The party was open to all opinions regarding the candidates in order to ensure victory in the next election.

Dr Cholnan said the Pheu Thai Party would make the best use of the South's richness in natural resources. He added it would push for Walailak University in Nakhon Si Thammarat to become a medical hub for treatment of people in the seven provinces in the Upper South, thus lessening the burden on Prince of Songkla University.

Mr Nattawut, himself a southerner and leader of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), said Pheu Thai would fight to win with policies that had proven effective.

"When Yingluck Shinawatra was prime minister, children walked to schools, holding tablet computers. But in the time of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, they are instead holding pipes for smoking marijuana," Mr Nattawut said, stressing Pheu Thai's policy to get rid of drugs.

He said with Ms Paetongtarn as prime minister, there would be double-track railways throughout the country and the 30-baht healthcare cards would be replaced with national identification cards. Every Thai citizen would be able to use this single ID card to get medical treatment free of charge.

Mr Nattawut said Ms Paetongtarn is a daughter-in-law of Nakhon Si Thammarat because her husband's mother was from Tha Wang area near the railway station. He introduced Ms Paetongtarn's husband to the audience.

Ms Paetongtarn ascended the stage to vow Pheu Thai would work hard to raise the prices of rubber, oil palms and rice to support farmers.

She repeated the party's policy to increase the daily minimum wage to 600 baht by 2027.

"Our intention is for people to have enough savings for the later part of their lives. They must enjoy a better future. With Pheu Thai in power, all narcotic drugs will be eradicated.

"If Pheu Thai forms a government in 2023, electricity prices will be lowered immediately without having to wait until 2027," Ms Paetongtarn assured the audience.

She also promised to promote tourism and fisheries. As well as replacing single rail tracks with double-track railways throughout the country, she said a Pheu Thai government would complete a high-speed railway from China to Singapore.

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