Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra expressed confidence yesterday that the opposition Pheu Thai Party would win 270 MP seats in the upcoming general elections, 100 more than the ruling Democrat Party.
He said he expected Pheu Thai to win at least 60 House seats from the party-list vote.
"The candidates on the ranks between 1 and 60 will certainly become MPs. Those above the 70th and 80th are likely to win, but it will be difficult for those from the 90th and below," he was quoted as telling the meeting.
A total of 125 of 500 MPs will come from the party-list vote and the remaining 375 will be selected in the constituency election.
Thaksin - who is believed to be Pheu Thai's de-facto leader - yesterday told party candidates to spread his recently announced policy platform to the electorate but also asked them "not to speak beyond the script", according to the source.
At yesterday's meeting, five teams were formed to deal with different areas of responsibility, such as campaigning, visiting constituencies and scrutinising suspected electoral fraud.
Yesterday's meeting was co-chaired by Pheu Thai's non-MP leader Yongyuth Wichaidit and deputy party leader Plodprasop Suraswadi at the party's headquarters.
It was disclosed that 193 people have applied to be on Pheu Thai's party list to contest the next election. They include red-shirt leaders, veteran politicians and dignitaries such as columnist Nitipoom Naowarat and former police chief Seripisut Temiyavej.
Among the red-shirt leaders on Pheu Thai's party list are Jatuporn Promphan (who is currently a Pheu Thai MP), Nattawut Saikua, Kokaew Pikulthong, weng Tojirakarn, Yoswalit Chooklom, Sakda Noppasit and Aree Krainara. All have been accused of terrorism in connection with last year's unrest and riots that left 91 people dead and 2,000 injured.
Mingkwan Sangsuwan, a Pheu Thai deputy leader who earlier announced his intention to become the party's prime ministerial candidate, did not attend yesterday's meeting. Mingkwan was reportedly upset at Thaksin's rejection of support for his ambitious announcement.