Thaksin backs local politician in rare endorsement

In a rare move, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, on Thursday, personally endorsed a local politician in the upcoming provincial elections.

The former PM wrote on his social media page in support of Pichai Lertpongadisorn, a candidate for Pheu Thai Party in the elections of chairmen and members of provincial administration organisations (PAO) scheduled for December 20.

Writing in northern dialect, Thaksin urged the people of Chiang Mai to continue to support him by voting for Pichai.

“Please do not leave me,” he said.

“Some politicians might have left me behind and I do not feel anything about it but if the people of my homeland in Chiang Mai leave me then I will be very miserable,” he added.

Thaksin said both him and his sister, former PM Yingluck Shinawatra, believe that Pichai would be able to help fix the local level problems in Chiang Mai.

And if Pichai is elected, the two former prime ministers would also be able to pass on their “advice” through the local politicians in order to help the people living there.

“I could help pass on all the knowledge and experience that I have learned from abroad to help our homeland,” he said.

“I want you to think of the Thai Rak Thai time and how it was continuously developing with good local economy, good crop prices, easy to do business and no drug problems, all of this can come back to Chiang Mai if we have a way to pass on our ideas to the PAO, especially through Gong (Pichai’s nickname),” he added.

Pichai is running up against Boonlert Buranupakorn, a candidate that he being backed by Jatuporn Prompan, chairman the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), the main Red Shirts group who also support Thaksin.  

Boonlert is the leader of the Chiang Mai Khunnatham group who was a former PAO chairman in Chiang Mai that was suspended from his post by an order from the previous junta, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), in 2016.

The Military Court of the 33rd Military Circle ruled that Boonlert and 14 others were distributing letters with misleading information about the junta-drafted charter which is currently the centre of the protest against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha’s administration at the moment.

According to Human Rights Watch, more than 120 politicians, activists, and journalists have been arrested for speaking out against the junta-drafted charter before it came into effect in 2017.

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