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Sudarat: Yingluck could soothe political conflict

Posted by arnon_k On March - 24 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Yingluck Shinawatra, younger sister of former prime minister Thaksin, has the potential to cool down political conflict and is well suited to lead the Puea Thai Party, according to former Thai Rak Thai executive Sudarat Keyuraphan.

“The next prime minister should have the qualities of being a person who is willing to sacrifice oneself to bring about reconciliation, can talk to all sides, and has knowledge about economics,” she said.

Khunying Sudarat said she did not want to comment on whether Puea Thai Party list MP Mingkwan Saengsuwan or Ms Yingluck would be the best candidate for prime minister.

“Both of them are suitably qualified, but I believe Ms Yingluck would be able to change the political battlefield, to bring reconciliation.

“We’ll have to wait and see who Puea Thai members select,” she said.

Meanwhile, Puea Thai list MP Apiwan Wiriyachai, a deputy house speaker, declared the resignation of Chalerm Yubamrung as a Puea Thai list MP would only further strengthen the party. Mr Chalerm was chairman of Puea Thai MPs.

Col Apiwan said Mr Chalerm’s decision to step down did not stem from conflict within the opposition party.

“No matter who leaves or enters the party, Puea Thai will still move forward.

“I’m confident that Mr Chalerm’s resignation will not affect the performance of Puea Thai MPs and the coming general election,” he said.

The MP for Nonthaburi province said he respected Mr Chalerm as a person and respected his decision to resign his House seat.

“There are many members in Puea Thai who are suitable candidates for prime minister, such as Mr Mingkwan Saengsuwan, Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh and Ms Yingluck Shinawatra,” he said.

Col Apiwan said he, himself, had turned down the position.

“I don’t expect any political incidents or a military coup before the House dissolution because I believe the armed forces know that the world does not accept a coup as a democratic solution,” he added.

Puea Thai MP for Lop Buri province Suchart Lainamngern said Mr Chalerm’s resignation would not hold back the party since he remains a Puea Thai member.

“Mr Chalerm will likely continue working with Puea Thai, since he himself said he wants to help the party campaign for the election.

“It is not likely that Mr Chalerm wants to negotiate to gain benefits as rumoured, but he might be feeling belittled,” Mr Suchart said.

All Puea Thai members still supported Mr Chalerm, because he was successful in past election campaigns, he said.

The MP, responding to criticism that there was no clear leadership in Puea Thai, said the party still has a leader, Yongyuth Wichaidit.

Yingluck rules out taking Puea Thai helm

Posted by arnon_k On January - 28 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Yingluck Shinawatra has ruled herself out of the contest to become the next leader of the Puea Thai Party, saying her focus remains on her business interests.

Despite backing from many Puea Thai MPs, the youngest sister of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra told the Bangkok Post yesterday she had no intention to enter politics, not for now at least.

“It’s not my time now,” the 43-year-old said, declining to elaborate.

The opposition party is searching for a new leader to replace Yongyuth Wichaidit and boost its popularity ahead of the coming general election. The lower house could be dissolved in April to clear the way for the poll, according to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva this week.

Former commerce minister Mingkwan Saengsuwan has lobbied for support from Puea Thai members to succeed Mr Yongyuth. Many MPs consider the former permanent secretary for interior unsuitable to lead the party into the election against the Democrat Party. Mr Yongyuth is reluctant to take the party into the election.

Many Puea Thai MPs want somebody closer to Thaksin to guide the party and Ms Yingluck’s name emerged as someone who could challenge Mr Mingkwan.

Those backing her include Puea Thai chairman of MPs Chalerm Yubamrung, who has been disgruntled by Mr Mingkwan’s attempt to take the party’s helm. The veteran politician has threatened to quit the party if Mr Mingkwan is successful.

But Ms Yingluck, who chairs property firm SC Asset Plc, believes her strength is in business and says she still enjoys it.

“I’m not an MP, so I am not eligible for the party’s leadership position.” She said she was confident the party could handle the situation.

Yingluck agonises over taking top job

Posted by arnon_k On January - 6 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Puea Thai leadership hangs in the balance
Many Puea Thai Party MPs are backing Yingluck Shinawatra, the younger sister of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, for the job of party leader.

Ms Yingluck is said not to have decided yet whether she wants the job, but her chief rival, Mingkwan Saengsuwan, is busy sounding out MPs about his chances.

As uncertainties over the Puea Thai leadership drag on, Ms Yingluck’s name has been mentioned together with that of Mr Mingkwan and former finance minister Virabongsa Ramangkura as possible party heads.

The present leader, former career bureaucrat Yongyuth Wichaidit, may not be a strong enough name to help the party pull votes at the next election.

A Puea Thai source said Mr Virabongsa’s strengths as a possible Puea Thai Party leader and candidate for prime minister were that he was seen as neutral by the public and was knowledgeable in politics and economic matters. However, Mr Virabongsa has rejected the overtures as he considers politics to be in an unusual phase. His participation would do more harm than good to himself.

Both Mr Mingkwan and Ms Yingluck have a successful track record in business.

Mr Mingkwan is a former executive of Toyota Motor Thailand and director of the state-run MCOT.

Ms Yingluck proved she has business acumen during her tenure at SC Asset Plc and Advanced Info Service Plc.

Many members of the Puea Thai Party are seen as preferring Ms Yingluck to Mr Mingkwan as she is the younger sister of Thaksin and should be able to secure their political hopes better in terms of work aspirations and funding.

Both Mr Mingkwan and Ms Yingluck are considered relatively inexperienced in politics.

Ms Yingluck, however, has attended meetings of Puea Thai executive committee.

She did not make any decisions at those meetings but she is aware of party issues and won the respect of MPs.

Mr Mingkwan, meanwhile, is trying to build support for his leadership bid. He has approached key figures including party chairman Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, head of the party MPs Chalerm Yubamrung and even Ms Yingluck.

Mr Mingkwan asked some Puea Thai MPs who favour him for the job to meet Thaksin overseas to woo support for his leadership bid.

Thaksin said he wanted Mr Mingkwan to prove his leadership qualities by leading the next censure debate.

Puea Thai MP for Chiang Mai Surapong Towijakchaikul said Ms Yingluck came across as humble.

Many Puea Thai members back her because they believe she could become the country’s first female prime minister.

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