Sunday, July 3, 2011

Thaksin's sister a frontrunner to be Thai PM

Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra -- PHOTO: AP

BANGKOK - YINGLUCK Shinawatra, the woman tipped to be Thailand's first female prime minister, is a political novice whose biggest asset is also her most controversial - her family name.

She is widely seen as the political proxy of her older brother, the fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who himself describes Yingluck as his 'clone' - a description she says underlines their similar thinking.

'We are alike in the sense that I have learned from him in business and I understand his vision, how he solves problems and the way he built everything from the beginning,' the mother-of-one told AFP on the campaign trail.

The photogenic 44-year-old, who has a business-oriented background, has defied sceptics who said the initial excitement over her nomination as the main opposition candidate for prime minister would soon fizzle out.

With her telegenic looks, relaxed demeanour and carefully choreographed stage routines, Ms Yingluck - 18 years junior to her controversial big brother - has proven a hit on the campaign trail.

'There's no question she's getting a bounce from excitement over the idea of Thailand having a woman prime minister, the novelty of a fairly young, attractive candidate, and because the Democrats are running such a lacklustre campaign,' said Thailand expert Michael Montesano. -- AFP

YINGLUCK Shinawatra

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