Leading Thai Opposition Candidate Gives Birth Two Weeks From Polling Day

By AFP 2 May 2023

BANGKOK—An opposition frontrunner in Thailand’s upcoming general election has given birth two weeks before polling day, her party confirmed on Monday.

The kingdom is entering the final stretch before the May 14 election with reformist groups, including Pheu Thai and Move Forward, surging ahead of establishment parties.

Paetongtarn Shinawatra, daughter of billionaire former leader Thaksin Shinawatra, is one of Pheu Thai’s prime ministerial candidates and has been polling strongly.

A near-constant presence on the campaign trail, for the past week she has rallied virtually, appearing by video link at an event on Saturday in Thailand’s eastern Si Sa Ket province.

“She gave birth this [Monday] morning,” Rinthipond Varinvatchararoj, Pheu Thai acting spokeswoman, told AFP.

It is unclear how long Paetongtarn will rest, she said, but Rinthipond was confident that she would be present at Pheu Thai’s final rally in Bangkok on May 12.

On her official Instagram page, Paetongtarn said the baby boy would be named Prutthasin Sooksawas and nicknamed “Thasin”.

The news was also shared by her father, who said on Twitter that he would return to the kingdom to care for his seventh grandchild.

Ousted in a 2006 coup, Thaksin lives in Dubai to avoid corruption charges he says are politically motivated.

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

It is not the first time Thaksin has promised to return to Thailand.