Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The 'trump card' may stay behind the scenes

Thaksin Shinawatra isn't saying publicly whether he will put forward his sister Yingluck as the No 1 on the party list for the upcoming election, thereby placing her in a position of becoming Thailand's first femal PM if his Pheau Thai Party wins big in the election.

Yingluck is seen as Thaksin's "trump card." And that may eventually mean that Thaksin could keep her away from any direct confrontation with the rough and tumble of real politics.

Several groups of Pheau Thai MPs who have met Thaksin in the past few weeks in Dubai report the ex-premier's different moods. Some say he had decided on Yingluck. Others suggest that Thaksin remains ambivalent.

Banpod Damapong, Thaksin's brother-in-law (his ex-wife Pojamarn's brother), is the "other choice" for this purpose in case Yingluck is determined to stay behind the scenes rather than exposing herself in the open political arena.

But then, Thaksin is also considering "outsiders" such as Olarn Chaiprawat and M.R. Pridiyathorn Devakul and even Dr Virabongsa Ramangkura as possible choices as well.

In other words,no one within his Pheau Thai Party is considered qualified for the premier's job now that Mingkwan Saengsuwan has been sidelined.

But those who know Thaksin say: Don't rule out anybody. His dilemma is growing. Nobody within the party is "marketable" but picking someone from within the family is politically risky. And "outsiders" have come up with too many pre-conditions.

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