Thai PM candidate Paetongtarn Shinawatra gives birth two weeks before election
Thai PM candidate Paetongtarn Shinawatra gives birth two weeks before election –
Paetongtarn Shinawatra, the frontrunner in the upcoming Thai election, has given birth to a baby boy two weeks before voters go to the polls.
Paetongtarn, the youngest daughter of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, posted a picture of her baby, named Prutthasin Sooksawas, nickname Thasin, on social media on Monday.
Paetongrarn said that she will speak with the media in a few days, when she is strong enough. She only stopped travelling for campaigning very recently, and had continued to video call supporters at Pheu Thai’s rallies.
Paetongtarn, known as Ung Ing, has ranked either first or second in voter’s choice for prime minister according to recent polls, boosted by the popularity of the Shinawatra name, which retains a loyal support base among rural voters in the north and northeast.
Parties associated with the family have won the most seats in every election since 2001. However, the family is fiercely opposed by the military establishment and has been repeatedly forced from power.
Thaksin was ousted in a coup in 2006, while his sister former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra was forced from office in 2014. Both live in exile to avoid legal charges.
On social media on Monday, Thaksin wrote: “I am very happy to have my seventh grandchild … All 7 grandchildren were born while I was abroad. I ask for permission to go back and raise my grandchildren, because I will be 74 years old this July.”
Paetongtarn’s candidacy has heightened speculation that Thakin could return to Thailand, a prospect that some fear could lead to instability. Over the years, he has frequently spoken of plans to return and in a recent interview with Nikkei Asia, a Japanese news magazine, he said he was willing to go to prison if it meant he could be back with his family.
Thaksin was convicted in absentia over corruption-related cases and would face a 10 year prison sentence if he returned, according to Thai media.
Paetongtarn has said she, and the Pheu Thai party, are focused on the election, rather than on bringing him home. She has previously rejected rumours that she would make a deal with a rival military-backed party to facilitate his return.
Paetongtarn is one of three prime ministerial candidates selected by Pheu Thai, which says it is aiming to win by a landslide. However, she is unlikely to gain the support of Thailand’s 250 unelected, military-appointed senators, who play a role in selecting the prime minister.
Paetongtarn also faces the challenge of appealing to younger voters, many of whom have attended rallies held by Move Forward, a progressive party that has addressed topics such as reform of the military and of Thailand’s lese majesty law. Its leader Pita Limjaroenrat has also performed top of preferred leader polls.