September 20, 2023
BANGKOK – Paetongtarn Shinawatra said on Tuesday she is ready to become the next leader of Pheu Thai if the party chooses her to succeed Cholnan Srikaew, who quit on August 30.
Cholnan had promised to resign as leader if the party formed a government with the Palang Pracharath or United Thai Nation parties, which it duly did.
Paetongtarn, the daughter of former premier and Pheu Thai patriarch Thaksin Shinawatra, was speaking at an event to mark the party’s 16th anniversary at Pheu Thai headquarters on Tuesday.
“I will accept [the party’s decision] if there is a more suitable candidate for leader,” she said, responding to questions from journalists who noted that some senior party members are endorsing new-generation politicians like her as potential Pheu Thai leaders.
“However, if the party chooses me as the next leader I would gladly accept the invitation,” she said, adding that she was set on achieving the party’s goals and had no doubt about her capacity to be its leader.
Paetongtarn also offered an update on the condition of Thaksin, saying that he was recovering from surgery he had last week.
Thaksin returned to the country last month to face jail time stemming from convictions of power abuse during his time as prime minister. He was moved from prison to the Police General Hospital in Bangkok on August 23 following a health scare.
“His blood pressure improves on some days but is worse on others. We still do not know when he can leave the hospital,” Paetongtarn said.
On September 1, the former prime minister’s jail time was commuted by HM the King from eight years to one year.
Paetongtarn said she was looking into the possibility of applying to suspend Thaksin’s remaining jail term in order for him to receive medical care at home, but had yet to file the application.