Thai opposition party names property tycoon as adviser amid rumours of PM candidacy

The Pheu Thai party announced Mr Srettha Thavisin, chief executive of Sansiri, has been brought in as a senior adviser. PHOTO: THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

BANGKOK - Thailand’s biggest opposition party on Wednesday named a well-known local property tycoon as its new adviser ahead of an upcoming election, adding fuel to speculation he was being lined up as another prime ministerial candidate.

The Pheu Thai Party, which together with its previous incarnations has won every Thai election since 2001, announced Mr Srettha Thavisin, chief executive of Sansiri, has been brought in as a senior adviser.

“It’s time to do more political work, but let’s take the future step by step,” Mr Srettha, 60, said when asked by reporters about him being a possible candidate for premier, following months of rumours.

Ms Paetongtarn Shinawatra, 36, whose father and aunt led governments overthrown in military coups in 2006 and 2014, has topped opinion polls since 2022 and was confirmed at the weekend as one of Pheu Thai’s prime ministerial candidates.

Under election rules, a party can name up to three candidates for premier. Pheu Thai has said it would name three.

Mr Srettha said he would be stepping up his presence on the campaign trail for the election, which is due in May.

“Paetongtarn has done well. But being seven months pregnant, there are limits,” Mr Srettha said.

They will face off against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, a general who led the coup against the last Pheu Thai government in 2014.

Underlining the bitter rivalry between Thailand’s warring political camps, Mr Prayut on Wednesday dismissed questions about Mr Srettha’s prospects and asked reporters what was special about him being a real estate mogul.

“The nation is not a business,” he said, before walking to a waiting car. “Remember my words, the country’s economy is not a family business. Do you understand?” REUTERS

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