Pheu Thai holds first Bangkok rally

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Supporters raise posters of candidates of Pheu Thai Party during an election campaign in Bangkok, Friday, Feb. 15. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Supporters raise posters of candidates of Pheu Thai Party during an election campaign in Bangkok, Friday, Feb. 15. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Bangkok (AP) — The political party seen as the main challenger to the military-dominated government held its first rally in the capital on Friday, as campaigning heats up for the first election since 2011.

Several thousand Pheu Thai party supporters gathered outside Bangkok’s city hall, waving signs of support as they listened to hours of speeches seeking to fire up the faithful for the March 24 polls.

Pheu Thai is the flagship party of the political machine of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra whose forces suffered a setback last week with the spectacular failure of a plan by another affiliated party to make Princess Ubolratana Mahidol a candidate for prime minister. The Thai Raksa Chart Party has since suspended campaigning and faces possible dissolution by a court.

At Friday’s rally, however, the speakers went on the offensive. A speech by the party’s main candidate for prime minister, Sudarat Keyuraphan, capped the evening. She said Pheu Thai could bring prosperity “as we have done before. It’s time for professional economists. It’s time for Pheu Thai to save the economy.”

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