Thai election favorite starts campaign eight months pregnant

Bangkok, Apr 3 (EFE).- Paetongtarn Shinawatra, the favorite to become Thailand’s next prime minister, on Monday kicked off her campaign for general elections taking place next month – around the same time that she will be due to give birth to her second child.

“I have to be careful,” the daughter of exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra said, upon arriving at the Bangkok center to register as a candidate.

She entered the political arena a few months ago and is the favorite in the polls, although her party, Pheu Thai, has yet to announce its main candidate.

The party made it clear last November that Paethongtarn’s pregnancy would not prevent her from running for PM.

Paetongtarn, known as ‘Ung Ing’, is a member of Thailand’s powerful Shinawatra clan whose parties have won the most seats in every election since 2001.

Opinion polls show 49.75% are in favor of Paetongtarn having the best chance to form a majority, followed by the opposition Move Forward party with 17.40%.

Current prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his deputy Prawit Wongsuwon – both generals who led the 2014 coup to oust Yingluck Shinawatra, Thaksin’s sister – are also running.

Prayut and Prawit tried to hide their differences during the military dictatorship (2014-2019) and the government that followed, but in recent months they have looked to distance themselves from each other.

Prayut, 69, a staunch defender of the monarchy, will run as a candidate for his pro-military United Thai Nation Party, polling at 11.75%, according to the latest survey conducted by NIDA.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Palang Pracharath party, Prawit, 77, is trailing with just 5%.EFE


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