Yingluck Shinawatra, youngest sister of Thailand’s fugitive ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, unanimously won the opposition Puea Thai Party nomination as top party-listed candidate vying for the country’s top job in the July 3 polls.
The result was widely anticipated.
Ms Yingluck, 43, would become Thailand’s first female prime minister if Puea Thai wins most seats.
The upcoming poll is expected to be a close-fought political battle between Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s Democrats, the country’s oldest political party and the main opposition party Puea Thai.
Ms Yingluck is seen as a proxy for her brother Mr Thaksin who was ousted by a military coup in 2006 after being accused of corruption. He was later sentenced in absentia to two years prison for violating the law on conflict of interest by helping his wife secure a parcel of land in the capital at a below-market price.
The fugitive ex-premier, now living in self-imposed exile, remains popular among rural voters.
Although inexperienced in politics, Ms Yingluck, who earned a Master’s degree in public administration in the United States now serves as executive president of SC Asset Corporation, one of Thailand’s major real estate companies, is pitted as the most suitable candidate against 46 year-old, Oxford-educated Abhisit.
In her brief speech to the party meeting after winning the nomination, the 43-year-old businesswoman said she stood ready to board the political bandwagon as she is confident that the party’s platform could answer all the people’s needs.
She pledged to work towards national reconciliation and to work for the people’s well-being.
“I want to see constructive politics based on fairness. I would like to assure (the public) that I will apply my knowledge and my goodwill to work towards that goal, towards a new government….I would like you to give me an opportunity to work with Puea Thai party as you have trusted my brother,” Ms Yingluck said.