Thaksin-Aligned Party Yet to Disclose PM Candidates

Thai Raksa Chart Party members pray at the City Pillar Shrine for luck Tuesday before registering as candidates for the March election.

BANGKOK — When it comes to who will run the country, a party allied with former leader Thaksin Shinawatra is keeping some of its cards close to the vest.

While other major parties have identified who will be their prime minister candidates, Thai Raksa Chart Party said it would reveal its list “at an appropriate time.” All parties have until Friday to disclose their candidates, who don’t need not be seeking elective office.

“But let me confirm we have it,” party chairman Preechapol Pongpanich told reporters today. “We have already discussed this, but we do not wish to disclose the details at this moment.”

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Preechapol was speaking at the Election Commission office where Thai Raksa Chart politicians were registering as MP candidates. They included big names in the Redshirt movement like Chaturon Chaisang and Nattawut Saikua.

Preechapol believes his party will net at least 50 seats in the election set for March 24.

Thai Raksa Chart is in the same coalition with other pro-Thaksin parties like Pheu Thai and Prachachart. Those two parties have already announced their prime minister candidates, as has their archrival, the Democrat Party.

Pheu Thai last week named a former popular transport minister Chadchart Sittipan, former health minister Sudarat Keyuraphan and former justice minister Chaikasem Nitisiri. The Democrats nominated longtime leader and ex-prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

The current constitution – drafted by junta lawmakers and approved by a majority of voters in 2016 – permits unelected individuals to become “outsider prime ministers.” Each party contending in the poll can list up to three candidates. They do not have to belong to any party.

A pro-junta party last week invited junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha to run as its candidate. Although the regime leader has repeatedly expressed his desire to serve another term, Prayuth said he would give his answer Friday.