Saturday, 21 May 2011
Yingluck qualified to run: EC
No charges yet against Pheu Thai No 1; PM questions her pledge to reconcile
Yingluck Shinawatra, the youngest sister of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, is qualified to contest the July 3 general election, the chairman of the Election Commission said yesterday, even though some reports linked her to the seizure of billions of assets belonging to her brother.
EC chief Apichart Sukhagganond said Yingluck, who is Pheu Thai's No 1 party-list candidate, has not yet been charged in any criminal case.
"The trial concerning the seizure of Thaksin's assets in which Khun Yingluck was involved was not a criminal one, but a political one," the chairman said.
Apichart was referring to allegations that Yingluck might have committed perjury when testifying in court in the assets seizure case against her brother. Moreover, an investigation into the perjury case against Yingluck has not yet begun, he said.
As No 1 on Pheu Thai's party list, Yingluck could become Thailand's first woman prime minister if her party wins a majority in the election on July 3. Thaksin, who fled abroad to avoid a two-year jail term on corruption charges and abuse of power, has said she is not his nominee but his "clone".
Meanwhile, Yingluck will today join a major rally in her hometown of Chiang Mai as part of the election campaign. Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva will tomorrow start addressing his supporters live in his weekly programme via social media.
Every Sunday at 8.10pm, Abhisit will talk live through "Abhisit Ch 10" on his Facebook page. It will also be broadcast on the party's Facebook page. The programme will be broadcast through a livestream system that allows the audience to interact in real time, party-list MP candidate Apirak Kosayodhin said.
The Democrat Party has drawn No 10 for the election. The party also launched a Democrat smart-phone application to follow the election campaign. Users of iPhone can download the application and listen to Abhisit's voice promoting the party's policies.
Yingluck yesterday visited people at Bang Kapi market in Bangkok. She received a warm welcome from vendors at the market. Some of them hugged her and many pointed their fingers, mimicking the party's number - No 1.
Yingluck said that if her party were elected, she would revoke the system of selling eggs by weight. However, she said she would keep the Democrats' good policies.
Yingluck cancelled a planned campaign event at Duang Prateep Foundation in Klong Toei to prepare for today's event in Chiang Mai's San Kamphaeng district. Her son Suphasek Amornchat, her brother Payap, her nephew Panthongtae (the son of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra), her brother-in-law Somchai Wongsawat and his family, Pheu Thai leader Yongyuth Wichaidit, deputy leader Plodprasop Suraswadi, Chalerm Yoobamrung and red-shirt leader Natthawut Saikua will join the event.
Abhisit yesterday went to Tha Muang district in Kanchanaburi to promote the farmers' earnings guarantee and free education for children. The audience presented him with garlands and said they would vote for the party.
Abhisit slammed Pheu Thai's policies and said he questioned Yingluck's pledge to push for reconciliation.
"I don't know Yingluck personally. She might be very determined to reconcile but I am afraid of her team. I saw the names on Pheu Thai's party list and I am afraid of Jatuporn Promphan, Natthawut Saikua, Weng Tojirakarn and Vipoothalaeng [Pattana-poomthai]. Even though Arisman [Pongruan-grong] is not qualified, his wife is also in," he said.
Abhisit also visited Wat Rai Khing in Nakhon Pathom during the campaign trail. A group of 20 red-shirt supporters gathered to protest against Abhisit. During his speech, a woman in a red-chested shirt shouted that the Bt360 she received from the government was not enough for a student uniform, which cost Bt400. Another woman named Manatchaya Siripong said she suffered due to the government's crackdown against protesters on April 10 last year.
The Chart Thai Pattana Party yesterday unveiled luk thung singer Boonteung Kaewsinual, aka Monsit Kamsoi, as its MP candidate in Mukdahan's constituency 2, and former Pheu Thai MP Adul Wanchaithanawong as candidate in Mae Hong Son. The Bhum Jai Thai Party unveiled 15 MP candidates for Nakhon Ratchasima, including Boonjong Wongtrairat running in constituency 10.