Seven years after leaving the Thai government, the Shinawatra family seems to have plans to return, starting with the appearance of Thaksin’s daughter Paetongtarn.
On October 28, Paetongtarn Shinawatra, the youngest daughter of Thailand’s former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, unexpectedly appeared at the Wealthy Thai Party Conference in Khon Kaen Province, in the northeast of the country.
After the introduction by the outgoing party leader Sompong Amornwiwat, Paetongtarn made a speech and announced that she was appointed as the Chairman of the Innovation and Inclusion Advisory Committee of Thailand’s largest opposition party, Pheu Thai. This is Paetongtarn’s first public participation in politics, but analysts are not surprised.
“Pheu Thai has recently had internal conflicts and some members have left the party. There are rumors that Thaksin will re-establish control of the party before a possible election. It will be held next year. So I am not surprised at all by this news,” Nordic Said Dr. Duncan McCargo, director of the Asian Institute and a Thai political expert.
Thaksin, the founder of the Thai party, was convicted in absentia on corruption charges. Since the 2006 military coup was overthrown, he has spent most of his time in exile. He helped other family members rise to high positions. Thaksin’s brother-in-law Somchai Onshawar and Thaksin’s sister Yingluck Shinawatra served as prime ministers, but both had to step down before the end of their term and were involved in legal disputes.
It is said that Thaksin and his ex-wife Potjaman Na Pombejra, Paetongtarn’s mother, and other Shinawatra family members have maintained a strong influence on the Thai Party, even though they are no longer members or hold administrative positions. Many people believe that Ms. Pojaman has significant financial control over her ex-husband’s party.
“The decision to appoint Paetongtarn as a consultant to Pheu Thai reinforces the perception of the influence of the Shinawatra family,” said Isra Sunthornvut, a director of the consulting firm Vriens & Partners Thailand and a former member of parliament, and let me know.
Analysts said that although Paetongtarn only played the role of an adviser and did not hold an administrative position, this is still a sign that Shinawatra intends to regain political power. The first step is to re-establish control of the Weithai Party.
The Dean of Political Science at Ubon Ratchathani University, Titipol Fakdiwanic, said: “It is impossible to imagine Thaksin completely withdrawing from Thai affairs. His family still has a lot of large investments here.” The commentary said. , Even though Thaksin and Pojeman recently stated that they did not want their family members to enter politics, fearing that they might end up like Thaksin and Yingluck.
Thaksin still often interacts with supporters of the Thai Party under the name “Tony Woodsome” on social media. In July, in a regular chat on the Clubhouse app, the former Thai prime minister stated that he “will soon return to the country through the front door instead of the back door.”
Paetongtarn also mentioned her father’s wish to return to China in her speech at the National Congress of the Thai Party in Khon Kaen. She said: “Father has never forgotten his kindness to Thailand, nor has he forgotten his kindness to the people. His passionate desire is to return to Thailand and repay his kindness to the people.”
Dr. Punchada Sirivunnabood, an expert at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute of Singapore, assessed that Paetongtarn’s new location “is definitely a stepping stone for Thaksin’s return to Thailand”. The expert said: “Perhaps the only way to achieve this goal is to control the government for the Thai party.”
Paetongtarn, 35, is the youngest of Thaksin’s three children. He graduated from Chulalongkorn University with a major in political science and then studied international hotel management at the University of Surrey in the UK. She currently serves as the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Rende Development, which operates in the hotel, television, education and medical services sectors, and is the largest shareholder of the real estate development company SC Asset.
With speculation that the next election may be held next year, the ruling Pharaang Pracharat Party and other major Thai parties have announced their candidates for prime minister. However, Pheu Thai has remained silent so far, even though it has stated that it will nominate three potential candidates, “they can connect with the older and younger generations.”
When asked if she would be nominated as the prime minister’s candidate, Paetongtarn said “this is the future issue” and she focused on the task at hand. However, observers say that the position of consultant is only a stepping stone to Paetongtarn’s control of the Pheu Thai party, and she is likely to run for prime minister. Titipol believes that Pheu Thai is investigating and testing the public’s response.
“We cannot rule out the possibility of Paetongtarn becoming a candidate for prime minister if she receives strong support from Pheu Thai supporters,” Titipol said, adding that her age and lack of Paetongtarn’s political experience are not important because, in fact, it is Maybe her father is in control. “She can only represent her father.”
At the age of 35, Paetongtarn has reached the minimum age required by the Thai Constitution to become prime minister. Dr. Punchada also stated that Thaksin’s youngest daughter is likely to appear on the list of candidates for the Thai party’s prime minister.
“It took only a few weeks for Yingluck to join the last-minute campaign and become prime minister. Anything can happen,” Punchada said.
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