Thaksin-linked party is talk of Thailand

BANGKOK • A party linked to Thailand’s exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is rapidly becoming the talk of the country amid rumours it will announce a shock prime ministerial candidate for March’s election.

The Thai Raksa Chart Party was Thailand’s top trending hashtag on Twitter yesterday over speculation about who might be named, with more than 100,000 posts.

A local media report said the candidate won’t be a member of the Shinawatra family.

A party spokesperson declined to comment on the speculation beyond saying that it will submit its choice today, the Election Commission’s deadline for candidate registration.

Thai Raksa Chart is viewed as an offshoot of the main Opposition Pheu Thai Party — which is also linked to Thaksin — and was established about a decade ago before re-branding and re-launching late last year.

The March 24 general election will be the first since the military seized power in 2014, an intervention that unseated a Pheu Thai-led administration headed by Yingluck Shinawatra, Thaksin’s sister.

Yingluck fled Thailand in 2017 before being sentenced in absentia to five years in jail in a negligence case she said was politically motivated.

Thaksin or his allies have won every election dating back to 2001, only to be unseated by the courts or the military.

The general election will be held under a military-backed charter. — Bloomberg