Thai election: Faces to watch

ABHISIT VEJJAJIVA
ABHISIT VEJJAJIVA
PREECHAPOL PONGPANIT
PREECHAPOL PONGPANIT
SUDARAT KEYURAPHAN
SUDARAT KEYURAPHAN
THANATHORN JUANGROONGRUANGKIT
THANATHORN JUANGROONGRUANGKIT
ANUTIN CHARNVIRAKUL
ANUTIN CHARNVIRAKUL

PREECHAPOL PONGPANIT, 38

Leader of Thai Raksa Chart Party

Formerly a Member of Parliament from Khon Kaen province, he left Pheu Thai Party to lead an offshoot called Thai Raksa Chart Party last month.

"This Constitution doesn't give much room for political parties to do things," he admitted to The Sunday Times. "But the people can really help the country by saying loudly what they want."

His five-year-old twins recently celebrated Father's Day with him at his party's headquarters on the outskirts of Bangkok. "Of course, you can quit politics, enjoy your personal life, but what about the future of your kids? The future of your country?"


SUDARAT KEYURAPHAN, 57 

Chairman of Pheu Thai Party's election strategy committee

The former agriculture minister stayed out of politics for 11 years - five of them while serving a political ban - before returning to Pheu Thai to spearhead election efforts. She has urged voters to deny military proxies an extension of power.

"No matter whether you like or don't like us, please vote for us," she says. "At the very least, if you vote for us and we don't do a good job, you can kick us out."


THANATHORN JUANGROONGRUANGKIT, 40

Leader of Future Forward Party

Shedding business suits for his party's T-shirt, the tycoon says he is fighting a "war of ideas" in coup-prone Thailand that could take "decades".

"Coups d'etat do not happen in isolation. They are intertwined with other social forces, particularly conservative forces. In order to stop the military coup d'etat you also have to confront conservative cultures in Thailand, for example, the propaganda that is trying to convince people in Thailand that politics is dirty and people should not be involved in politics."


 ABHISIT VEJJAJIVA, 54

Leader of the Democrat Party

After surviving a recent challenge to his leadership, the former prime minister must now steer his party through an election process weighted against big parties like his. He is pitching the Democrats as the third way for people who feel forced to choose between corrupt governments and dictatorships.

"People know more about their problems," he was quoted by the Bangkok Post as saying. "We must allow them to play a bigger part in political decision-making."


 ANUTIN CHARNVIRAKUL, 52

Leader of Bhumjaithai Party  

Medium-sized parties like Bhumjaithai stand to gain the most from Thailand's new electoral system. Mr Anutin, a businessman and flying enthusiast, could play a kingmaker role in the future government which many expect to be formed by a coalition of parties.

Tan Hui Yee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 16, 2018, with the headline 'Thai election: Faces to watch'. Print Edition | Subscribe