NAKHON RATCHASIMA: Pheu Thai leader Paetongtarn Shinawatra is ready to become the country's next prime minister, but that will not happen in the near future, according to the party's secretary-general, Sorawong Thienthong.
Paetongtarn: Already the party's leader
Mr Sorawong made the comment after a seminar organised by the party in Nakhon Ratchasima yesterday, where he was asked if the country will soon have a female prime minister.
"We are duty bound to promote all of the party's prime ministerial candidates [in an election]. We are ready [to lead the next government], and so is our party leader," he said, referring to the 37-year-old daughter of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who became Pheu Thai leader in October.
When a journalist asked about the likelihood of the country getting a female prime minister next year, Mr Sorawong said that is unlikely to happen as Srettha Thavisin is performing well as the nation's current premier.
Pheu Thai nominated both Ms Paetongtarn and Mr Srettha as its PM candidates in the May 14 election, but Mr Srettha won the backing of the House and Senate to become the country's prime minister.
"[Ms Paetongtarn] is focusing on her work within the party rather than matters of administration," he said. "She wants to restore the party's strength."
Pheu Thai came second in the election with 141 seats, but it ended up leading the government after the Move Forward Party (MFP), which won 151 seats, could not form a coalition. The MFP now leads the opposition.
The election result was a bitter disappointment for Pheu Thai, which spent a lot of resources rallying voters to give it a landslide victory so 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 one key to restoring Pheu Thai's dominance is to improve communication between constituents and party MPs and the Pheu Thai-led government.
Ms Paetongtarn told the meeting yesterday that the party will be expanding its online "Pheu Thai Family" network to improve communications between the party and the people.