Paetongtarn Shinawatra, daughter of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and head of the Pheu Thai family, said on Tuesday she is ready to lead the Pheu Thai Party if that is what it wants.
While a decision on the party’s next leader has not yet been made, she said she would be willing to give her best if chosen.
“I will put my best effort into working for the party regardless of my position in the party,” Ms Paetongtarn, 37, said at an event held to mark the 16th anniversary of the party — the third iteration of the Thai Rak Thai Party founded by her father in 1998.
“I will focus on the party’s goals. It will not affect me even if someone else is selected to be the party’s leader,” she added.
Ms Paetongtarn also said she was delighted be the vice-chairperson of the national soft power strategy committee, chaired by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, noting that Pheu Thai had promoted soft power policies during the election campaign.
When asked if she would begin working at parliament, Ms Paetongtarn said she would have to visit the complex for meetings but would not mind if the committee had to work remotely for the team’s flexibility.
“I would be excited to visit Government House again,” she added. “I used to go there when my father was the prime minister and I was very young. I would like to see if it still looks similar to what I remember.”
The Pheu Thai Party plans to hold a general assembly on Oct 16 to elect a new executive committee and leader.
Dr Cholnan resigned on Aug 30, keeping a pledge he made to step down if Pheu Thai formed a government with military-linked parties. However, the 62-year-old physician from Nan remains in the cabinet as minister of public health.
Phumtham Wechayachai, the deputy prime minister and deputy leader of the Pheu Thai Party, said it would like to encourage young and competent people to get involved with the organisation. Senior party members would step back and become supporters for a younger leader, he added.
Many Pheu Thai MPs are believed to favour Ms Paetongtarn taking the reins.
When asked if Ms Paetongtarn will be selected as leader, Mr Phumtham said that she is competent and would fit the role. However, the decision will be up to the party’s new executive board.