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Thailand's biggest opposition party has nominated the sister of an exiled former premier as a prime ministerial candidate. The move is seen as a high-stakes gamble ahead of a crucial July general election.
The youngest sister of exiled Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra was named the prime ministerial candidate for Thailand's biggest opposition party on Monday.
The Puea Thai Party nominated Yingluck Shinawatra, the 43-year-old president of SC Assets Corporation, to spearhead and re-energize its campaign.
The party's members are allies of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, who won two election landslides before he was overthrown in a 2006 military coup.
Yingluck Shinawatra says she enters politics in a bid to serve the Thai people and push the nation forward.
[Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Ministerial Candidate]:
"Our family owes the Thai people. This is the main reason that I decided to follow politics. I do not play at politics, but I offer myself to serve the people. I want to see the resolution of conflicts and for us all to walk ahead together."
The July general election is expected to be a close race between Puea Thai and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's ruling Democrat Party.
The Democrat Party says the inexperienced Yingluck is likely to spend most of her term on a long distance call with her brother.
[Suthep Thaugsuban, Democrat Secretary General]:
"People may not able to imagine how Ms. Yingluck can solve problems for the country. Maybe she will keep her ears constantly on the phone for the long distance call while she is working."
But Yingluck could prove to be instrumental in uniting a party in disarray. She could boost support for the Puea Thai Party by winning over the rural poor who were wooed by Thaksin's populist policies.