Abhisit campaigns in South; Yingluck celebrates 44th birthday

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BANGKOK, June 21 – Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and senior executives from his Democrat party–Thailand’s oldest–began campaigning Tuesday in their historic stronghold, the country’s upper southern region, with their first stop at Hat Yai, the commercial district in Songkhla before travelling further south to the border region.

Mr Abhisit, who arrived at Hat Yai last night  along with party principals including Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, Deputy Interior Minister Thaworn Senneam and Minister Attached to the Prime Minister’s Office Satit  Wonghnongtaey walked from a Hat Yai hotel to meet the public at Kim Yong market and having breakfast before leaving for the southernmost provinces of  Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala.

They are scheduled to spend all day campaigning in the three provinces before returning to Bangkok in the evening.

Mr Abhisit expressed no worry to travel to the violence-plagued provinces, saying that he had visited the provinces many times while serving as prime minister.

He insisted that his party was on the right track in its policy focusing on fair treatment and local development to tackle the region’s problem, while criticising his main rival Pheu Thai Party’s proposed special administrative zone as simply a symbolic gesture which will further cause communication gap between the locals and authorities.

With less than two weeks before the July 3 general election, the Democrat party leader said he expected that his party would win more seats than in the last election.

Meanwhile, Abhisit’s main political rival, Yingluck Shinawatra, the opposition Pheu Thai’s top party-list candidate, on Tuesday celebrated her 44th birthday at her home with her husband Anusorn Amornchat, president of handset distributor M-Link Asia Corp and their son-Supasek.

The family jointly offered food to nine monks at their home in Bangkok.

Ms Yingluck, the youngest sister of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, said she wished the country would move towards national reconciliation and harmony.

On her birthday, Ms Yingluck was scheduled to pay respect to Phra Pathom Chedi, the tallest stupa in the world in Nakhon Pathom before visiting Wat Rai Khing to make merit and returning for a rally near the Rama VIII Bridge in Bangkok. (MCOT online news)