Meeting voters more important than debate with Abhisit: Yingluck

In her first media interview since being declared Pheu Thai's No-1 candidate on its party list, Yingluck told TV Channel 7's evening news programme she was ready to campaign upcountry.

She said meeting eligible voters to inform them about the party's political platform was more important than a debate with incumbent Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, leader of the ruling Democrat Party.

"My first mission will be to visit constituencies and present the party's policies to the people," she said.

Earlier yesterday, Yingluck said she would make up her mind close to polling day whether to debate with Abhisit.

"My priority at this juncture is to meet with my constituents, and on Saturday I will begin my campaign by visiting Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai," she added.

She said that although the Democrats had tried to sling mud at her, she was undeterred and would offer policy choices to voters.

According to a Pheu Thai source, Yingluck is scheduled to register her candidacy as a party-list candidate today.

Tomorrow morning, she is due to campaign at markets in Bangkok, while at the weekend she is scheduled to hit the campaign trail in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lamphun and Phayao.

The source said she would be in Kanchanaburi and Ratchaburi on Monday, back in Bangkok on Tuesday, before heading to the Northeast on Wednesday and Thursday, starting with campaign visits to Nakhon Ratchasima, Chaiyaphum, Roi Et and Yasothon.

Yesterday, she took on the mantle of leadership, chairing a party meeting and dangling a flat charge of Bt20 per trip on the electric-train network covering Bangkok and surrounding provinces.

Commenting on the allegation that she is a puppet for Thaksin, she said that as a sibling he was her inspiration, but today she and her party were making their own decisions.

Thaksin was involved in drafting campaign policies but the party has the final decision on implementation, she said.

Looking ahead to her job if elected PM, she instructed her party to focus on the mass-transit system in the capital, saying she wanted to ensure a cheap and reliable service for commuters.

Meanwhile, Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha refused to comment on Yingluck being in the fray to lead the next government. He said voters would have their say on electing qualified representatives to administer the country.

"Don't try to involve the military in politics," he added, arguing that the rival camps should not allow a repeat of violence to draw soldiers out of their barracks.

-The Nation/Asia News Network -The Nation/Asia News Network