Parties ramp up poll manoeuvres
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Parties ramp up poll manoeuvres

PT to reveal PM pick as PPRP, Dems rally

Chaikasem Nitisiri (Photo: Pheu Thai Party)
Chaikasem Nitisiri (Photo: Pheu Thai Party)

Chaikasem Nitisiri, Pheu Thai's chief strategist, has declared his readiness to be the party's third and last prime ministerial candidate in the upcoming poll, set for May 14.

He said he is ready to be nominated again, despite not winning last time.

His name was put forth by the party as one of its three prime ministerial candidates, alongside Chadchart Sittipunt and Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, in the 2019 general election. However, parliament elected Prayut Chan-o-cha, the sole candidate of the Palang Pracharath Party, as prime minister.

This time around, Mr Chaikasem is reportedly being eyed by Pheu Thai again as a candidate. If picked, he would be the party's third and final candidate, after Paetongtarn Shinawatra, head of the "Pheu Thai Family," and her adviser, Srettha Thavisin.

Yesterday, Mr Chaikasem, 74, said while he stands ready to run for the premiership, he does not hold hope of getting the top job, citing his age.

He said is currently waiting for the party to clarify a nomination issue.

Party executives have not met to decide on its third candidate, although certain names have been floated.

If anyone should be nominated for the prime ministerial candidacy, he or she should be the people's choice, Mr Chaikasem said.

He said he considers himself a suitable candidate, given his experience.

Mr Chaikasem, a former justice minister under the Yingluck Shinawatra administration, said he trusted that all three of the party's prime ministerial candidates would be honest and well-rounded.

"If [people have] faith in Pheu Thai, they should have confidence in the people the party chooses," he said.

He added that he would not be disappointed if he did not make the cut, noting a candidate, in his opinion, should be a party insider.

Economic aims outlined

Meanwhile, the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) has vowed to adopt the Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) economy model and the environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles as drivers of the country's competitiveness.

The ruling party has set its sights on an integrated economic model, which can be implemented promptly if and when the PPRP returns to power after the next poll, according to PPRP political strategist Sontirat Sonthijirawong.

Speaking at a forum attended by business and political representatives at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce yesterday, Mr Sontirat stressed the party would work to sharpen and sustain the country's competitiveness by means of applying the BCG model and the ESG principles.

In the farm sector, for example, the party supports technology-assisted 'smart agriculture' so locally produced crops can compete effectively in the world market.

The party also pledged to promote soft power and community tourism, which is an important revenue generator for the country. Tourism will thrive further when it is firmly connected to soft power and prominent cultural features such as food, he said.

The PPRP will also expand on the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) and link it to special economic zones elsewhere in the country to create incentives for foreign investments, said the former energy minister.

Mr Sontirat pointed out that while farming was the country's strength, it remains a labour-intensive sector with weak crop sales. The PPRP has been trying to add value to farm produce, although for this to succeed, the Agriculture Ministry and the Commerce Ministry need to work in sync.

The two ministries are currently supervised by the Democrat Party.

He added one way to add value to edible farm products is to export more under the making Thailand a kitchen of the world project, which includes the establishment of food marketing platforms.

In addition, the party is also promoting bio-jet fuels, which are converted from wood-based residual products.

Turning to politics, Mr Sontirat said PPRP leader Prawit Wongsuwon was best suited to lead the country out of longstanding political and social divisions, which is the party's campaign motto. Overcoming the conflict would unleash the dynamism needed to fuel economic prosperity.

"We are as determined as ever to beat the economic problems once we get back in government," he said.

Democrats go electric

Democrat Party members are expected to head to the first day of MP candidacy registration by riding an electric-powered bus to the registration venue in Bangkok on Monday.

Ong-art Klampaiboon, a deputy party leader, said Democrat constituency MP candidates and executives would travel on board an electric bus to the Thai-Japanese Youth Centre in the Din Daeng area, the venue for registering Bangkok MP candidacies under both the constituency and party-list systems. He said the party chose an electric vehicle to highlight its commitment to the clean-air cause by tackling the recurring problem of widespread fine dust pollution.

The issue has been incorporated into the party's election campaign platform.

After registration, the Democrat candidates in all Bangkok's 33 constituencies will pay their respects to the City Pillar and pray for poll success at Wat Phra Kaeo inside the Grand Palace.

Mr Ong-art said the party's "roadshow policy" -- where candidates and members speak to ordinary voters during campaign rallies to get unfiltered input on the city's problems -- had been well-received.

At its first such event at Talat Sri-iam in Suan Luang district, the party presented its election policies and handed out leaflets to people.

On Wednesday, former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva joined a Democrat campaign rally under Rama VIII Bridge.

Mr Ong-art said seasoned politicians such as Mr Abhisit were out in force to assist with the campaign activities, which was "invigorating".

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