By Chayut Setboonsarng and Panarat Thepgumpanat
BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn has endorsed a new cabinet that includes real estate tycoon Suretha Thavisin as the country’s new prime minister and finance minister, according to a statement issued on Saturday, months after May’s elections. According to the Royal Gazette,
Suretta’s Pheu Thai Party, backed by the billionaire Shinawatra family, will oversee a portfolio of defense, transport, trade, health and foreign affairs ministries.
Thailand has had a cautious government since March, with the Forward Party, which won the general election in May, struggling to form a government without the support of conservative lawmakers over its progressive policies.
The second-ranked Pheu Thai Party ended its alliance with Move Forward and brought in a rival party aligned with army generals who ousted Shinawatra-affiliated parties in coups in 2006 and 2014.
The announcement of the new cabinet comes just weeks after Mr Suretta, the former head of luxury real estate developer Sansiri, was sworn in as prime minister in a parliamentary vote in August.
On election day, pro-Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra made a dramatic return to Thailand after spending 15 years in exile abroad to escape an eight-year prison sentence. Thaksin was taken to the police hospital on his first night back home because of his chest paint and high blood pressure. He then submitted an application to the royal family asking for a pardon.
On Friday, the king reduced his sentence to one year, citing his loyalty to the monarchy and his ill health.
Suretta’s rapid rise to power, Thaksin’s smooth return, and Pheu Thai Party’s alliance with former rivals have sparked speculation about a deal between Thaksin and its rivals, the country’s powerful conservatives and royalists. increased. Thaksin and Pheu Thai Party argue otherwise.
The new cabinet has a competent ministry of the Thai Ministry of Contribution to oversee the economic ministries, which will be crucial in implementing policies such as the 10,000 baht ($285.63) stipend in the form of digital currency.
The largest coalition partner, Bhumjaithai, known for advocating for the use of medical cannabis, will oversee the ministries of education, interior affairs and labor.
Conservatives and pro-military parties will lead the Energy and Environment Departments.
Suretta and his 33 ministers will be sworn in before an audience with the king and will issue a policy statement in parliament before work begins this month.
Sureta said the first cabinet meeting would tackle the cost of living by lowering electricity and gas prices and easing visa entry rules for Chinese immigrants to boost tourism.
(1 dollar = 35.0100 baht)
(Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Miral Fahmy and Gerry Doyle)