New Mother PM Candidate Resumes Campaign in ThailandOn May 9, 2023 by V B Archana Priya
At a news conference in Bangkok, she stated that her baby boy wouldn’t affect her ability to rally support for the Pheu Thai party less than two weeks before the polls.
Paetongtarn believes children are her secret power and motivation. Her newborn son was carried into the room in an incubator where Paetongtarn and her husband Pitaka Suksawat are clicked by media during a press conference.
She is the youngest daughter of Thaksin Shinawatra, former Prime Minister ousted by military court in 2006, and niece of Yingluck Shinawatra another former Prime Minister whose government faced a similar fate eight years later.
Thaksin, who has been in self-exile since 2006 due to an abuse of power conviction he claims is politically motivated, tweeted he would like permission to return home and see his grandchildren.
Paetongtarn downplayed the message as simply expressing happiness from a grandfather.
Paetongtarn Shinawatra: Thai Politician and Businesswoman. Paetongtarn Shinawatra, born on August 21, 1986, is a Thai politician and businesswoman.
She belongs to the Shinawatra political family as the youngest daughter of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and niece of Yingluck Shinawatra. Currently, she serves as chairwoman for the Pheu Thai Party’s advisory committee on participation and innovation.
Born in Bangkok, Paetongtarn attended St. Joseph Convent School and Mater Dei School before earning her bachelor’s degree from Chulalongkorn University in 2008. She then pursued an MSc in international hotel management from the University of Surrey.
As a businesswoman, she holds significant shares in SC Asset Corporation and directs Thaicom Foundation. Married to Pitaka Suksawat and has two children, Paetongtarn was elected head of the Pheu Thai family at a meeting on March 20, 2022.
In April that year during their annual general meeting, she expressed her desire for regime change in Thailand and gaining experience before running for prime minister.
By April 2023, Paetongtarn became one of three prime minister candidates nominated by the Pheu Thai Party alongside Srrettha Thavisin and Chaikasem Nitisiri Thaksin Shinawatra; A former Prime Minister’s Rise, Controversy and Exile.
Thaksin Shinawatra, born on July 26, 1949, in Thailand, is a Thai politician and businessman who served as Prime Minister from 2001 to 2006.
A descendant of Chinese merchants, Thaksin initially pursued a career in the police force though his father is a politician by then. After graduating from the Police Cadet Academy in 1973 and studying criminal justice at Eastern Kentucky University, he returned to teach at the academy.
Thaksin then worked under Prime Minister Seni Pramoj before completing his doctorate at Sam Houston Texas State University. Back in Thailand, he held various police positions and became skilled in computer technology.
After reaching Lieutenant Colonel Rank, he left the force in 1987 to run a computer business with his wife, Potjaman.
Despite financial struggles early on, Thaksin obtained satellite communication and cell phone concessions which led to significant wealth. He entered politics as Foreign Minister in 1994 but only served three months due to government collapse.
In 1995, after winning a legislative seat for Bangkok’s Palang Dharma Party (PDP), Thaksin briefly served as Deputy Prime Minister within Banharn Silpaarcha’s coalition government and again under Chavalit Yongchaiyudh in 1997.
( bottom to top, Yingluck Shinawatra and Thaksi Shinawatra)
Thaksin’s populist Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party won national elections on January 6, 2001, and he became Prime Minister of Thailand on February 9.
However, his position was threatened when charged with concealing assets by the Counter-Corruption Commission in April. Acquitted by a narrow margin on August 3, Thaksin consolidated power as his party merged with smaller coalition members.
Despite corruption allegations, Thaksin gained popularity through an effective tsunami response in December 2004. In 2005, TRT achieved an unprecedented absolute majority and formed a one-party government.
Controversy arose in 2006 after selling his family-owned corporation for $2 billion tax-free; mass protests demanded Thaksin’s resignation. He dissolved parliament in February and called April elections which were boycotted by major opposition parties leading to invalid results declared by the Supreme Court.
Although not assuming office again, Thaksin led an interim government until ousted during a military coup while abroad in September; he went into exile.
In June 2007, the Thai government froze Thaksin’s assets. He returned to Thailand in February 2008 to face corruption charges. In August, his wife was convicted of tax evasion and they both fled the country while on bail.
Thaksin was found guilty of corruption in absentia in October 2008 and sentenced to two years in prison. The couple divorced; Potjaman’s sentence was suspended upon her return to Thailand.
In February 2010, Thailand’s Supreme Court ruled that $1.4 billion of Thaksin’s frozen assets would be seized as part of his conviction. Thaksin resided mostly in Dubai and Britain after fleeing but maintained a strong following at home. His sister Yingluck Shinawatra won the majority parliamentary seats with their party, Pheu Thai Party, in July 2011 elections and became prime minister.
Yingluck attempted amnesty for those involved in political tensions between 2006-10 which sparked massive protests. She was ousted from power in 2014 and later joined her brother-in-exile after being charged with corruption.
Shinawatra Family’s 2023 Thailand PM Election Fate. The daughter of the former Thai Prime Minister may secure his old position. Paetongtarn Shinawatra, with her family name and resemblance to her father, is favoured in polls for the May 14th general elections.
However, some worry that electing Thaksin Shinawatra’s youngest daughter could lead Thailand back into a cycle of protest and military intervention. The popular Pheu Thai Opposition Party expects significant gains by having 36-year-old Paetongtarn on the ballot.
They hope for a landslide victory to surpass the ruling party’s advantage in selecting the Prime Minister. Although she is the top choice among her party’s three candidates, any of them could become Thailand’s new leader after post-election negotiations.
In March, Paetongtarn, proposed policies such as better labor conditions, higher minimum wage, population control, and transforming Thailand into a financial and technological hub.
Yet concerns remain about similarities to her exiled father and aunt’s rule as Prime Ministers which involved military interventions and protests. The upcoming May 14th general election remains a global hot topic.
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