PM downplays Yingluck’s rising popularity


BANGKOK, May 23 – Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Monday brushed aside recent opinion polls showing popularity of rival Puea Thai Party and its PM candidate Yingluck Shinawatra was on the rise, pointing out that there were clearly not statistically significant.

There was no need to adjust the Democrat’s election campaign strategies, he said.

The premier made his remarks in his capacity as the Democrat Party leader following recent opinion polls showing increasing popularity of his main challenger for the top job, Ms Yingluck, the youngest sister of fugitive, ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Though not holding any executive position in the Puea Thai Party, Ms Yingluck topped the list of party-list candidates as the party’s choice for the premiership.

As the Election Commission said it could not stop the Red Shirt supporters from harassing the Democrats during the election campaign, Mr Abhisit said that all candidates should play by the rules and that he would campaign for his party in the Northeast, a political stronghold of the main opposition party.

Meanwhile, Mr Abhisit’s top opponent clarified her brother’s statement that she was his “clone” , asserting that she was only a clone of her brother in terms of thinking style, in particular his vision, his business-management style and his political thoughts.

“I’ve learned from him after I continually followed his work. That’s why I understand his political thought,” Ms Yingluck said.

She said it was not always necessary that the person topping the list of party-list MP candidates will become prime minister, depending on the vote of the eligible voters and other political parties in case of a coalition government.

Normally the party with the highest number of elected MPs should be allowed to form a government first but if the public trust us (the Puea Thai) by giving us a majority of votes to form a single-party government, Puea Thai party will then nominate the prime minister.