Pheu Thai Party's Prime Ministerial candidate Paetongtarn Shinawatra waves to journalists as she is escorted by her elder sister Pinthongta and her husband Pidok Sooksawas during a press conference after giving birth to her son at a hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, 03 May 2023. EFE-EPA/RUNGROJ YONGRIT

Thai election favorite, ‘ready’ to resume campaign after giving birth

Bangkok, May 3 (EFE).- Thai presidential candidate Paethongtarn Shinawatra, favorite in the polls for this month’s general elections, said Wednesday she is “ready” to resume her electoral campaign just two days after giving birth to her second child.

In a press conference from Bangkok’s Praram 9 hospital, the candidate said her children are her “secret power” and said she was confident her opposition Pheu Thai party would win a landslide victory in the May 14 elections, despite losing ground in the latest polls.

“If Pheu Thai can win a landslide victory and lead the government, we can make changes immediately,” Paethongtarn said, shortly after showing reporters her newborn in an incubator.

Pheu Thai Party’s prime ministerial candidate Paetongtarn Shinawatra gives a press conference following her son’s birth at a hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, 03 May 2023. EFE-EPA/RUNGROJ YONGRIT

The 36-year-old political neophyte, favorite in the polls, is the daughter of Thaksin Shinawatra, prime minister from 2001 until he was deposed in a military coup in 2006, and the niece of Yingluck, president from 2011 until she was also ousted by the army in 2014. Both remain in self-imposed exile.

Her Pheu Thai party is also leading in recent polls – though it has lost ground to the reformist Move Forward party – and has won every election since 2001, two of them by landslides.

Amid the slight drop in support, Paethongtarn considered that Thailand “needs to change” and stressed that her formation is “the only answer” to it.

“We have been fighting for eight, nine years, so we won’t wait any longer. We will vote to really change the country. You don’t have to wait another four years to change,” she said.

Pheu Thai Party’s Prime Ministerial candidate Paetongtarn Shinawatra (R) is flanked by her husband Pidok Sooksawas (L), her mother Potjaman (2-L) and older sister Pinthongta as they pose for a photograph with her newborn son Prutthasin Sooksawas during a press conference at a hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, 03 May 2023. EFE-EPA/RUNGROJ YONGRIT

However, according to polls and expert analysis, a landslide victory in these elections is unlikely, and if so, the Pheu Thai would need to form an alliance.

Move Forward, another opposition party, is seen as its most feasible partner, especially after the late boost it is seeing in polls.

According to the most recent poll by the National Institute of Development Administration published Wednesday and which interviewed 2,500 people, reformist candidate Pita Limjaroenrat was ahead of Paethongtarn for the first time, with 35.4 percent of the vote compared to her 29.2 percent.

Asked about a possible alliance with Move Forward, the Pheu Thai candidate said her formation would join “parties that support” similar policies and rejected a coalition with people backed by the military.

Paethongtarn also spoke about the possible return of her father to Thailand, after the oligarch posted on Twitter this week that he would seek “permission” from authorities to return home and care for his grandchildren.

“Dad wants to come back to take care of his grandchildren. He didn’t say he wants to be prime minister,” Paethongtarn said, adding that Thaksin’s return, 73, would not be related to politics. EFE