Pheu Thai denies grooming Yaowapa as PM's stand-in
The ruling Pheu Thai Party yesterday accused the Opposition Democrats of being fanciful in their claims Pheu Thai heavyweight Yaowapa Wongsawat is being prepared as a stand-in should PM Yingluck Shinawatra meet with a political accident.Pheu Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit denied the party's Chiang Mai's constituency 3 MP Kasem Nimmolrat has quit to pave the way for Yaowapa to contest an election and replace him. He said Kasem resigned because of health issues and he is also interested in local elections. Kasem also denied he was pressured by senior party members to quit in order to pave the way for Yaowapa to replace him. He said the party would announce the party candidate to run in the by-election after the Election Commission had announced the by-election day.
The Democrats interpreted Kasem's resignation as a plan to get Yaowapa ready for the PM's post by first winning an MP seat in case Yingluck was to be removed through any of the following scenarios:
First, Yingluck is facing an investigation by the National Counter Corruption Commission for allegedly submitting a false assets-declaration involving a Bt30 million loan extension.
Second, Yingluck might be linked in several corruption investigations such as in the rice pledging scheme and the Village and Community Potential Development Project or SML.
Third, the PM could face a grilling over a move to give her brother, ex-pm Thaksin Shinawatra, a passport.
"If Yaowapa is interested in contesting the election, she is entitled to because the five-year political ban against her has been lifted. Besides, constituency 3 is Yaowapa's native residence and where she was elected an MP,'' he said.
Chiang Mai election director Suchart Chaipakdi said he had not seen Kasem's resignation paper but only heard the resignation will be effective from today.
The by-election must be held within 45 days.