Yingluck says not easy to replace the PM

Bangkok (The Nation/ANN) - In response to speculation that her older sister might possibly replace her, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday only frowned saying she was far too busy to pay attention to rumours like this.

"It is not that easy to replace a prime minister, because it is the people's mandate. I have been entrusted to do this job and am backed by a majority vote under democratic rule," she said.

The prime minister is currently on an official visit to New Zealand.

Yingluck said people could and would render their judgement on her leadership, adding that though she is not that good at promoting herself, her performance will speak for itself.

"I may fumble with my words when making a speech, but please don't try to fault me, because I speak from my heart," she said.

Speculation that fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra might replace Yingluck with his other sister was bolstered by last week's resignation of Pheu Thai Chiang Mai MP Kasem Nimmolrat.

The ruling-Pheu Thai Party's executive committee later decided to field Yaowapa Wongsawat in a by-election scheduled for next month. Opposition politicians then started saying that Yaowapa might replace Yingluck as government head, but Thaksin rejected this speculation as groundless.

The Constitution requires the prime minister to be an MP.

The inconsistencies in her asset declaration with the National Anti-Corruption Commission and her government's decision to issue a new passport for Thaksin are the two issues that have put Yingluck in a hot seat - leading to speculation that her sister is being groomed to take over.

However, a survey in Bangkok and adjacent provinces found that most people don't believe Yaowapa will replace Yingluck.

About two in five of the 1,123 respondents said they wanted a limited change in the Cabinet line-up, while three in 10 supported a major reshuffle.

Some two in five respondents said they wanted to see new faces in the Economic Ministry, while more than half of the respondents said they did not see the coalition getting any stronger if Yaowapa's Matchima faction joined the government.

The survey was conducted and released yesterday by Bangkok University.

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