NAKHON RATCHASIMA: Pheu Thai Party leader Paetongtarn Shinawatra is ready to be prime minister but that will not happen next year, according to the party’s secretary-general.
Sorawong Thienthong made the comment about the possibility of Ms Paetongtarn leading the government during a party seminar in the northeastern province on Thursday.
“We are duty-bound to promote the (prime ministerial) candidate of the party to become the next prime minister. … We are ready and so is our party leader,” he said, referring to Ms Paetongtarn, who became the Pheu Thai leader in October.
The 37-year-old daughter of former prime minister and Pheu Thai patriarch Thaksin Shinawatra was one of two prime ministerial candidates put forward by the party in the May general election.
Asked if the country would have a new female prime minister next year, Mr Sorawong said such a timeframe was unlikely as the current premier, Srettha Thavisin, was working with efficiency and determination.
“Ms Paetongtarn is focusing on her work for the party rather than on administration,” said Mr Sorawong. “She wants to restore the strength of the party.”
Pheu Thai came second in the election with 141 seats but now leads the government after the Move Forward Party, which won 151 seats, was unable to form a coalition. Move Forward now leads the opposition.
The election result was a bitter disappointment for Pheu Thai, which had been asking voters to give it a “landslide” victory to ensure it could form a government without being thwarted by the military-appointed Senate. Ultimately, it was forced to accept military-aligned parties into its coalition to ensure the backing of the upper house.
Mr Sorawong said that one key to restoring Pheu Thai’s dominance would be to improve lines of communication from constituents to party MPs and the Pheu Thai-led government.
Ms Paetongtarn told the meeting on Thursday that the party was expanding its online “Pheu Thai Family” network to improve communications between the party and people.
She also stressed that Pheu Thai did not belong to her family but belonged to all party MPs and members.