New government to fan out into ministries as the country makes a new start on Thursday after a special cabinet meeting on Wednesday to prepare for the constitutionally required policy statement of his government to be presented to parliament on Monday, 11th September next.
The new Thai government was sworn in on Tuesday in an audience with the Thai King at the Dusit Palace in Bangkok. It brings to an end nearly four months of political uncertainty with the economy presenting danger signals.
The new government led by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin took the oath of office in front of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida on Tuesday afternoon at the Dusit Palace in Bangkok.
The ceremony took place at the Amphorn Sathan Residential Hall, where the Prime Minister and 33 other appointees took the oath of allegiance as prescribed by the Constitution as they were officially sworn into their roles.
New cabinet, made up of 34 ministers from six parties with 29 men and 5 women, takes power
The new cabinet comprises 16 Pheu Thai Party ministers including Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and 18 ministers from five other political parties including the Bhumjaithai Party, Palang Pracharat Party, United Thai Nation (Ruam Thai Sang Chart) Party, Chart Thai Pattana Party and the Prachachart Party.
The new government is supported by 11 political parties in parliament.
The cabinet line-up contains twenty-nine men and five women.
The swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday follows the endorsement on Friday, September 1st by the King.
Government has lukewarm public support after political wrangling and Senate opposition saw Move Forward edged out after the May 14th General Election
This appeared to be an expedited process, given the delay that occurred after the May 14th General Election, when the surprise winner of that poll, the Move Forward Party, failed in its efforts to form a government due to opposition from the Upper House or Thai Senate.
It is understood that there followed a tussle behind the scenes in the byzantine world of Thai politics until a resolution was found in the days leading up to August 22nd when Mr Srettha’s nomination was endorsed by Parliament with the support of Senators aligned to former Prime Minister Prayut Chan ocha.
After the ceremony on Tuesday, ministers made their way back to the seat of government and the Thai Khu Fah Building where a customary photograph was taken of the cabinet in formal attire on the grounds with Mr Srettha sitting in the middle in two lines with the front row seated and the back row standing.
Prime Minister vows his new government will work hard to address people’s issues as he tours Thailand
At a press conference after the swearing-in, 61-year-old Mr Srettha moved to reassure the public whose support for the new cabinet and government is, according to recent opinion polls, only lukewarm.
‘I assure you that the administration is the people’s government. All who come here to this place represent all the people. There are lots of problems. We will work tirelessly, every day and every minute. People-based needs will be our work,’ declared the prime minister.
Mr Srettha went on to reveal that, beginning on Friday, September 8th, he will tour the northeastern part of the country, visiting Khon Kaen, Udon Thani and Nong Khai provinces.
The prime minister is engaging in what appears to be a consultative process, since the cabinet was finalised last week, he has been seen to reach out to all sectors and areas of the economy.
Ministers are due to take up their roles on Thursday but have been receiving briefings since Monday.
Srettha to meet US administration officials on the sidelines of UN General Assembly later this month
The new Prime Minister will not be attending the ASEAN Summit which opened on Tuesday in Jakarta, Indonesia, but will instead be travelling on September 19th to the UN General Assembly in New York where he is expected to meet representatives of the Biden administration on the sidelines.
In the run-up to Tuesday’s swearing-in, it emerged that Mr Srettha has decided not to make use of an official vehicle assigned to the Prime Minister by the state, but instead will be using his own personal mode of transport.
There are also early indications that the Pheu Thai-led government is moving swiftly to carry out practical reform of the Thai Armed Forces with the newly appointed Defence Minister Mr Sutin Klangsaeng already making appointments and the government making it clear that it wishes to phase out military conscription over the next four years and initiate the process of creating a professional standing army.
Deputy PM for Security to be appointed
On Tuesday, there was also speculation that a deputy prime minister with responsibility for national security would be appointed to replace former Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan.
It is thought that Deputy Prime Minister Somsak Thepsutin, who was previously Minister of Justice in the government of Prayut Chan Ocha and is considered one of the most able members of the new cabinet, will take up the new role.
After Tuesday’s traditional photograph in front of the Thai Khu Fah Building, the ministers of the new government went to the Santi Maitri Building where they had photographs taken for ministerial identity cards with Police Colonel Thawee Sodsong, the newly appointed Minister of Justice from the Prachachart Party, being the first to be processed.
The cabinet is to meet in special session on Wednesday to prepare for the new government’s policy statement which will be presented to parliament on Monday, September 11th by Mr Srettha.
Economy tanks as demand for loans surges with an acute credit crisis and falling export output reducing growth
It comes as the Thai economy is showing clear signs that the already fragile economic recovery is weakening with falling export earnings and a current account deficit recorded for July 2023.