Paetongtarn ready to be new Pheu Thai leader, wants father Thaksin treated at home

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, accompanied by his daughter, Ms Paetongtarn Shinawatra, arriving at Don Mueang airport in Bangkok on Aug 22. PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK – Ms Paetongtarn Shinawatra said on Tuesday that she would be ready to become the next leader of Pheu Thai if the party chose her to succeed Mr Cholnan Srikaew, who quit on Aug 30.

Mr Cholnan had followed through on his promise to resign as leader if the party formed a government with the Palang Pracharath or United Thai Nation parties, which it did.

Ms 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 the 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 Pheu Thai members were endorsing new-generation politicians like her as potential party leaders.

“However, if the party chooses me as the next leader I will 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.

Ms Paetongtarn also offered an update on Thaksin’s health, saying that he was recovering from surgery he underwent last week.

Thaksin returned to the country in August to face jail time for past convictions involving the abuse of power during his time as prime minister.

He was moved from prison to the Police General Hospital in Bangkok on Aug 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,” Ms Paetongtarn said.

On Sept 1, the former prime minister’s jail time was commuted by Thailand’s King from eight years to one year.

Ms Paetongtarn said that she was looking into the possibility of applying to suspend Thaksin’s remaining jail term for him to receive medical care at home, but had yet to file the application. THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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