Thai PM candidate gives birth weeks before election

The opposition frontrunner in Thailand’s upcoming general elections, Paetongtarn Shinawatra, gave birth on Monday, just two weeks ahead of the vote.

Paetongtarn, who is the daughter of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, announced the birth on her social media accounts along with a photo of her newborn.

“Hi, my name is Prutthasin Sooksawas, nickname Thasin,” read the post. “Thanks for all the support. In a few days, wait for my mum to recover first, then I will meet the press.”

Paetongtarn’s race for PM

Pregnancy hasn’t appeared to hinder Paetongtarn’s race for the top spot, having made a campaign trail appearance via video link on Saturday.

The 36-year-old is the Pheu Thai Party’s leading candidate. She has climbed the list of voters’ favorites in the elections due to take place on May 14.

The political party is controlled by the Shinawatra family. Paetongtarn’s father, Thaksin, was ousted in a 2006 coup and lives in Dubai to avoid corruption charges he says are politically motivated. He has been convicted and sentenced in absentia.

“All of my seven grandchildren were born while I lived abroad. I will go back to raise my grandchildren,” he wrote, without saying when he might return.

Incumbent lagging in polls

Opinions polls, meanwhile, have Paetongtarn comfortably ahead of her closest rival, Pita Limjaroenrat, with 35.7% to 20.25%, in the survey conducted by Thailand’s National Development Administration (NIDA), who gauged the opinions of 2000 people.

Incumbent Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha has been trailing in polls and was third in the latest NIDA survey.

Thailand has been led by the former army officer since 2014, who seized power in a military coup.

He managed to cling onto power as prime minister in a coalition government with the pro-junta Palang Pracharath Party [PPRP] after a much-criticized 2019 general election.

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