PM to ramp up UTN face time in South

PM to ramp up UTN face time in South

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will make his debut as a prospective ministerial candidate of the United Thai Nation (UTN) Party on Saturday when he will lead the party’s electioneering in the southern province of Chumphon, said a source yesterday.

Despite speculation that he will be announced as the UTN’s top prime ministerial candidate, Gen Prayut has until this point only been declared as a member of the newly established party.

About 10,000 supporters of the party and Gen Prayut are expected to turn up at the event, to be held outside Chumphon city hall. It is not known if the party intends busing them in as it did a recent event in which Gen Prayut joined the party as member.

Gen Prayut will deliver his election speech at about 10am and meet supporters in person before returning to Bangkok. It will also be the first time the PM will be escorted by a bodyguard team hired for him by the UTN instead of being surrounded by the usual Government House security teams.

Gen Prayut, accompanied by UTN leader Pirapan Salirathavibhaga and other key party figures, led more than 30 prospective election candidates for the party in Bangkok constituencies to canvas for votes in the Yaowarat area yesterday on the occasion of Lunar New Year.

Earlier in the day, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, in his capacity as leader of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party, was also spotted meeting supporters in Yaowarat in an unannounced visit to the festive area. The two have been shadowing each other in recent days in campaign stops outside Bangkok.

Narumon Pinyosinwat, treasurer of the PPRP, said the party is continuing to select prospective election candidates before introducing them to the public.

She said she believes Gen Prawit has a good chance of becoming Thailand’s 30th prime minister, considering the PPRP’s strong policies and team of election candidates.

Niphon Bunyamanee, deputy leader of the Democrat Party, said all their election candidates for southern constituencies and almost all in the North have now been unveiled.

More than 100 election candidates for the northeastern constituencies will be announced next Saturday, and Mr Niphon confirmed the party’s intention to contest all 400 constituencies nationwide.

As for party list candidates, they now have plenty to choose from, he said.

Many of its election policies will focus on rehabilitating Thai agriculture, he added.