Ruling Thai party considers dropping PM: Thailand’s ruling Pheu Thai Party may be forced to reconsider its strategy and drop caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra as its candidate for the prime minister’s post in a fresh election, says a party source.
Ms Yingluck is facing battles on several fronts, and some of them are not up for negotiation, the source said.
The caretaker prime minister faces impeachment for alleged dereliction of duty under the government’s rice-pledging scheme, and thousands of farmers are either rallying or threatening to rally in Bangkok to demand the government make the long-overdue payments due them for their crops under the programme.
The source said that while the party will fight to make sure a new government is formed out of the election, it doubts if Ms Yingluck stands a chance of contesting the polls, said a Bangkok Post report.
National Anti Corruption Commission (NACC) has summoned Ms Yingluck to answer charges this Thursday, and is expected to conclude its inquiry in two months. An indictment would likely eliminate her chances of seeking office.
While the Pheu Thai Party’s strategy over the past four months of anti-government protests has been to resist the pressure to step down, it now remains to be seen how long she can continue to hang on.
The pressure is now mounting against the premier as the protesters take aim at businesses linked to the Shinawatra family.
There is also the problem that she may soon be facing multiple lawsuits, from both anti-government protesters and farmers, noted the source.
There is the possibility that the party might decide to opt for someone not from the Shinawatra family, according to the source.
However, Pheu Thais strategist Noppadon Pattama, who is a close aide of deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, downplayed speculation that the party may drop Ms Yingluck.
He said she has two months to fight the charges, and as long as the NACC does not hand down a ruling, Ms Yingluck cannot be taken out of the picture.