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Thai parties gear up for general election

In Thailand, political parties are gearing up for a general election due to be held by early May. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has attended a rally of a recently formed party, eyeing reelection, while the largest opposition party, affiliated with former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, is gaining momentum.

Prayut joined the United Thai Nation Party earlier this month after splitting from the country’s pro-military ruling party.

Prayut delivered his first speech at a UTN gathering on Saturday and expressed his determination to stay on as prime minister. “I promise to make Thai people’s lives better, and in the next term everything must be better than now,” he said.

The ruling pro-military Palang Pracharath Party named Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan as its candidate for the country’s leader. Prawit has held the No. 2 position since the military coup in 2014.

Meanwhile, the largest opposition Pheu Thai Party is seeking to regain power in the general election, pledging to hike wages amid ongoing inflation.

In a recent poll, Paetongtarn Shinawatra, a daughter of Thaksin, was the most popular choice for the next prime minister with a 34 percent support rate, while Prayut lagged far behind on 14 percent.

The general election will choose 500 members of the House of Representatives. All 250 senators were effectively picked by the military under the current Constitution. The next prime minister will be elected by members of both chambers after the election.

Pheu Thai is picking up steam, but it needs to win a big majority in the lower house to elect its own prime minister.

Source : NHK World Japan