By Thai Newsroom Reporters
THE TOTAL SUM of Pheu Thai Party’s campaign finance for the next general election will drop from a maximum of 35 million baht as provided by law due to Saturday’s partisan rally in Sisaket where attendees were given Pheu Thai Family T-shirts for free, confirmed a source in the Election Commission today (June 20).
The largest opposition party handed out thousands of red T-shirts, reading Pheu Thai Family on the chest, to villagers in a few constituencies of Sisaket for free, thus incurring a certain amount of Pheu Thai Party’s campaign finance which is to be deducted from the maximum of 35 million baht in partisan funding as provided by law, said the source attached to the polling agency.
The Election Commission is yet to obtain an officially-verified amount of money spent on the production of those Pheu Thai Family T-shirts so that it will be deducted from the party’s total campaign finance.
Nevertheless, the evident distribution of the Pheu Thai Family T-shirts to those constituents, probably those who may have been inclined to vote for Pheu Thai candidates running in the next general election for MPs in the northeastern province, was by no means against the law as alleged by an adviser to Prime Minister’s Office Minister Anucha Nakhasai, according to the source.
Apart from the total 35 million baht campaign finance provided for an election-contesting party as a whole, each electoral candidate is legally given a maximum of 1.5 million baht in individual campaign finance.
In the name of Pheu Thai Family, former premier/de facto Pheu Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra’s daughter Paetongtarn, and former Red Shirt leader Nattawut Saikua delivered speeches to woo popular support from among the Pheu Thai Family T-shirt-clad attendees.
Nattawut told the audience that Sisaket was chosen as the first site for of Pheu Thai Party’s nationwide electoral campaigns because, he said, coalition partner Bhumjaithai Party, headed by Deputy Prime Minister/Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, had managed to “steal” three of the six Pheu Thai MPs currently representing the northeastern province.
The former Red Shirt leader referred to MP Jaturong Pengnorapat, MP Thira Traisaranakul and MP Pongsri Sae Jueng, all of whom were largely known to have already committed themselves to defecting to Bhumjaithai Party during a run-up to the next race to parliament.
Nattawut charged that Bhumjaithai Party would only look to keep Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in power beyond the next general election by endorsing the naming of the coup leader-turned-premier as head of a post-election government instead of naming Anutin for the top post of government.
Following the 2019 election, Palang Pracharath Party, core of the current coalition government, successfully named the unelected Prayut as premier, unanimously given yea votes from all 250 senators, who had been handpicked by the Prayut-led coup junta, calling themselves the National Council for Peace and Order.
Nattawut added that the three other Pheu Thai MPs of Sisaket might probably be tempted to follow suit by switching over to Anutin’s party and contesting the next election against their current camp.
Paetongtarn recommended the Sisaket constituents only pick the Pheu Thai contestants so that the opposition party might probably score a landslide victory, as earlier forecast by her father, living in self-exile in Dubai alongside her aunt/former premier Yingluck Shinawatra, and become core of a post-election government.
Top: The huge Pheu Thai Family rally in Sisaket on Saturday with most of the attendees wearing the free T-shirt.
Front Page: Former premier Thaksin Shinawatra’s daughter Paetongtarn Shinawatra addresses the Sisaket rally. Photos: Voice TV