Palang Pracharath names Prawit as main election candidate
published : 27 Jan 2023 at 14:30
writer: AFP, Bloomberg
The ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) has named its leader Gen Prawit Wongsuwon as its candidate to be prime minister in Thailand's upcoming general election.
The army-backed (PPRP) on Friday gave the 78-year-old former army chief the nod as unofficial campaigning gathers momentum -- although the Election Commission (EC) has yet announced the polling date.
"We unanimously proposed Gen Prawit Wongsuwon to be the sole prime ministerial candidate of our party," PPRP deputy leader Paibul Nititawan told reporters. PPRP launched Gen Prawit's candidature at a low-key event in Bangkok that he did not attend.
Gen Prawit, also a deputy prime minister, will run against incumbent Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who earlier this month announced he would lead the campaign for the recently created United Thai Nation Party, or Ruam Thai Sang Chart in Thai.
The ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) organises a low-key event at its head office in Bangkok on Friday to announce Gen Prawit Wongsuwon's candidature. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Gen Prayut came to power as army chief in a 2014 coup before cementing his position in a controversial election in 2019, and he and Gen Prawit were close allies during the years of junta rule.
Gen Prayut's popularity is in the doldrums and the kingdom is battling a sluggish economy struggling to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, which hammered the key tourism sector.
The main opposition Pheu Thai Party is expected to name Paetongtarn Shinawatra -- daughter of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra -- as one of its candidates for premier.
Billionaire tycoon Thaksin, ousted as prime minister in a 2006 coup, lives in self-imposed exile in Dubai to avoid corruption charges he has said are politically motivated.
- Related: Thaksin jibe irks Prayut
While Pheu Thai is polling strongly, the current Thai constitution, which was drafted under junta rule, gives army-linked parties a strong advantage.
Thailand is expected to hold general elections in May with the 500-member House of Representatives set to complete its term on March 23. A slew of electoral changes, including a return to a two-ballot system and a drop in party-list lawmakers, will give larger political parties like PPRP and Pheu Thai an upper hand.
Widely regarded as a political king-maker, Gen Prawit’s party has pledged to increase cash handouts to welfare cardholders to as much as 700 baht a month to woo voters. Pheu Thai has promised to lift minimum wages and crop prices while slashing energy costs to end nearly a decade of military-backed rule.
On Thursday, Gen Wit Devahastin na Ayudhya, a close associate of Gen Prawit, announced his resignation as leader of the Ruam Phaen Din leader and said he will rejoin PPRP.
- palang pracharath party
- prawit wongsuwon