Thaksin’s daughter Paetongtarn Shinawatra to run for PM in upcoming Thai elections

She is currently leading opinion polls for prime minister.

Yen Zhi Yi | April 06, 2023, 04:53 PM

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Paetongtarn Shinawatra, 36, was confirmed by Thailand’s biggest opposition party Pheu Thai as one of their prime minister candidates on Apr. 5.

According to the Bangkok Post, the other candidates from the party are Srettha Thavisin and Chaikasem Nitisiri.

Paetongtarn, the daughter of the country’s former exiled prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, leads the party.

Thailand dissolved its parliament on Mar. 20 and announced that general elections to be held on May 14, 2023.

The elections will see a major contest between the United Thai Nation Party led by Thailand’s prime minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha and Pheu Thai.

The other candidates for prime minister include Prayuth, 69, and ex-general Prawit Wongsuwan, 77, from the Palang Pracharath Party.

Active campaigning

Despite being eight months pregnant, according to AFP, Paetongtarn has been campaigning actively.

She is the youngest of Thaksin’s three children and studied in the UK and Thailand.

She had also managed a branch of her billionaire family’s real estate business before delving into politics.

Telling reporters that it would be a challenging election, her party “will go and communicate as much as possible”.

"We believe that Thais have had a bad experience,” said Paetongtarn, referring to the 2014 coup that brought the current military government to power.

"It's time to put behind the years of suffering and herald an age of hope. Give the party a landslide win, so it can get the country out of the crisis. The party MPs and three prime minister candidates will work as a team”, she was quoted as saying by the Bangkok Post.

Their campaign, "One Team for All Thais", aims to develop Thailand and improve its citizens' livelihood through technology, boosting income, improving infrastructure and reforming the judicial system.

Challenging times ahead

An earlier report by Reuters had noted that Paetongtarn was leading the opinion polls for prime minister, two times more than Prayuth.

Although this is the case, AFP reported that the party may still be hindered from taking power due to the kingdom’s constitution drafted by the military junta in 2017.

Parties led by the Shinawatras, such as Thaksin and his sister Yingluck Shinawatra, have won most seats in Thailand’s elections since 2001 and have been ousted from power multiple times.

Due to the normalisation of military coups in Thailand, it is noteworthy not to discount the occurrence of another one in the aftermath of this year’s elections.

The elections come amidst the possible waning of the military government’s power and an ongoing succession crisis within the Thai monarchy.


Top image via Paetongtarn Shinawatra’s Instagram account