Commentary: Running in the family


By Out-Crowd

SEVERAL PROMINENT PARTIES have already pitted certain persons, mostly being their respective top leaders, as candidate for head of a post-election government though nobody could yet rest assured as to how soon the race to parliament may take place. Strange but true, only one major party, namely the Pheu Thai Party, remains undecided, leaving it up to anyone’s guess as to who will be finally picked up against those archrivals.

Surprisingly enough, some of the Pheu Thai Party’s executive members have kept themselves tight-lipped over the repeatedly-asked question as to who will be eventually pitted as their candidate for a post-election prime minister while others have desperately given a lame excuse, saying they would not scramble to name the would-be candidate for fear that he or she might be considerably prone to undue criticisms.

Nevertheless, rumours have it that either one of two well-known  businesspersons will be named candidate for premier under the banners of the Pheu Thai Party, nominally led by opposition leader Sompong Amornvivat.

”Such reluctant excuses merely underlined the fact that all significant decisions at the Pheu Thai Party have been and will be made by the de facto owners of the party and that is the Shinawatra family. Top decisions may even look as if they were practically made on behalf of the whole executive board of the party” said a political observer, personally close to the rank and file of the opposition party.

That obviously refers to the internationally-renowned family of former premiers Thaksin Shinawatra and Yingluck Shinawatra, both of whom were deposed in the 2006 and 2014 coups respectively and have been staying in self-exile overseas.

Thaksin has never failed to give his family members, however distant, top political positions as long as he could give orders from his luxury residence in Dubai. According to political observers, the Pheu Thai Party’s candidate for post-election premier will very likely be either Nattapong Kunakornwong, the spouse of Thaksin’s daughter Pintongta Shinawatra and CEO of SC Asset Corp., or Settha Taweesin, known as intimately close to Yingluck and as the president of Sansiri Plc., a real estate development firm.

Between the Thaksin and Yingluck eras was a short period of nominal rule by former premier Somchai Wongsawat, the spouse of one of the Shinawatra sisters, namely Yaovapa.

”No tangible factors could be scrupulously considered other than personal relationships with the Shinawatra family when it comes to the making of the party’s top-level decisions for crying out loud,” one of the observers put it.

Given unprecedented, specific circumstances, an exception did occur and prompted the Pheu Thai Party to name a trio of candidates for premier in the 2019 election only to see itself wind up in the opposition bloc. The trio included Khunying Sudarat Keyurapan, Chadchart Sittipunt and Chaikasem Nitisiri, none of whom being intimately related to the Shinawatra family.  

Many Pheu Thai MPs cannot help wondering whether either Nattapong or Settha may have had any track records involving  politically-related performances or working relationships with lawmakers of the party, let alone being touched and felt by constituents anywhere in the country.

Some of the ex-Pheu Thai MPs bluntly concluded that their working relationships or personal ties with the Shinawatra family could never be fairly compared and opted out for good. Several prominent politicians have finally left Thaksin’s camp for the Thai Sang Thai Party led by Sudarat, a former head of the party’s electoral strategic campaign.

Nevertheless, others argued that many constituents in the northern and northeastern regions of the country still admire Thaksin so unfalteringly, coherently they will as usual vote for his differently-named party, no matter who may ever be pitted as its candidate for head of government.  

It remains to be seen whether and how either Nattapong or Settha will be viewed by constituents nationwide as a favorite party-listed candidate for premier in comparison to the likes of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who is more or less speculated to be named by the ruling Palang Pracharath Party, Deputy Prime Minister/Democrat Party leader Jurin Laksanavisit, Deputy Prime Minister/Bhumjaithai Party leader Anutin Charnvirakul, Thai Sang Thai Party leader Sudarat, Kla Party leader Korn Jatikavanich and Move Forward Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat


Former premier Thaksin Shinawatra with his sister and also a former premier Yingluck Shinawatra, top, and talking over the phone,  below. Top photo: Matichon,  Photo below:

First insert: Nattapong Kunakornwong, the spouse of Thaksin’s daughter Pintongta Shinawatra and CEO of SC Asset Corp.Photo: Thai Rath

Second insert: Settha Taweesin, known as intimately close to Yingluck Shinawatra and president of Sansiri Plc . Photo: Thai Rath

Home Page: Thaksin Shinawatra. Photo: Thai Rath

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