Bangkok | Sat, September 2, 2023

Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn endorsed a new cabinet, including real estate tycoon Srettha Thavisin as the country’s new prime minister and finance minister, according to a Royal gazette published on Saturday, months after the May elections. The defense, transport, trade, health, and foreign ministry posts will be under the control of Srettha’s Pheu Thai party, which is funded by the wealthy Shinawatra family.

The Move Forward party, which won the May elections, has struggled to create a government without support from conservative MPs because of its progressive agenda since Thailand has been under a caretaking government since March.

When Shinawatra-affiliated parties were deposed in coups in 2006 and 2014, the second-place Pheu Thai broke off its coalition with Move Forward and brought in competing parties that were allied with the military. After winning a parliamentary vote in August to become prime minister, Srettha, the former president of luxury real estate developer Sansiri, SIRI.BK, made the announcement of the new cabinet a few weeks later.

Thaksin Shinawatra, the leader of Pheu Thai, made a stunning comeback to Thailand on election day after 15 years of self-exile overseas to evade an 8-year prison sentence. Thaksin was admitted to a police hospital on his first night back due to chest pain and high blood pressure.

Later, he presented a petition asking for a royal pardon. The king shortened the sentence to a year on Friday, citing his devotion to the monarchy and his failing health. Speculation about a deal between Thaksin and his adversaries among the country’s potent conservative and royalist army was stoked by Srettha’s quick rise to power, Thaksin’s easy return, and a coalition between Pheu Thai and old rivals.

That is untrue, according to Thaksin and the Pheu Thai party. Pheu Thai is in charge of the economy ministries under the new cabinet, which is vital for carrying out its goals, including the distribution of 10,000 baht ($285.63) in the form of digital currency.

The labor, education, and interior ministries will be under the direction of its largest coalition partner, Bhumjaithai, who is most known for supporting the use of medical cannabis. The energy and environment ministries will be headed by conservative and militaristic parties.

Before meeting with the king, Srettha and his 33-member cabinet will take an oath, after which they will present a policy declaration to parliament before beginning work this month. Srettha had stated that the first cabinet meeting would address issues with the cost of living by lowering energy and gas rates and eliminating visa entry requirements for Chinese immigrants to increase tourism.

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