Srettha seen as having best chance to secure PM post next week
Now that the Pheu Thai Party has a chance to form a coalition government, its prime minister candidate Srettha Thavisin is seen as having a better chance than Move Forward’s Pita Limjaroenrat to secure the post.
Pita’s opportunity came to an end on Wednesday when parties of the outgoing government joined with senators to block the renomination of Pita on the grounds that doing so would violate Article 41 of the parliamentary meeting regulations.
Before the second round of voting for PM on Wednesday, Move Forward promised Pheu Thai it would step aside in favour of the party that won the second-highest number of seats in the May 14 election to try forming a coalition government. Pheu Thai has 141 MPs while Move Forward won 151 MPs but with Pita now suspended as an MP by the Constitutional Court, the party is left with 150 active MPs.
It is yet to be seen whether Pheu Thai can replace Move Forward with new partners after many senators made it clear they would not vote for a PM candidate of any coalition that includes Move Forward because of its stance on amending the lese majesty law.
Reports quoting Pheu Thai sources said Move Forward might be replaced by the Bhumjaithai party of outgoing Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and Palalang Pracharath of outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan.
Observers said this formation would definitely secure the PM seat for Srettha, who is also strongly backed for the post by Pheu Thai’s first PM candidate Paetongtarn Shinawatra.
On Monday, Srettha, who is the second Pheu Thai PM candidate, expressed his readiness to take the helm of the next government if Pita failed in his second bid.
“Had I been not ready for the post, my name would not have been on the list of PM candidates of the Pheu Thai,” Srettha said.
He said he would take care of economic affairs no matter whether Pheu Thai led the coalition or remained a partner.
Srettha said it would be up to the Pheu Thai executive board to consider whether the partners of the coalition would have to be changed with Pheu Thai as the new leader.
Property tycoon Srettha Thavisin sent shockwaves through Thailand late last year with tweets hinting he was eyeing the post of prime minister under the Pheu Thai banner.
On March 1, Srettha visited Pheu Thai headquarters to be formally ushered into the party as chief adviser to Paetongtarn in her role as head of the Pheu Thai family.
A day later, expectations were heightened when Pheu Thai appointed him as a member of the party’s economic team.
On March 9, Srettha took two steps seen as preparations for his campaign to lead the country.
He took unpaid leave as CEO of property developer Sansiri Plc and he transferred his 661,002,734 Sansiri shares to his daughter, Chanada Thavisin.
Srettha told Nation Group in an interview that he would urgently address four issues if he leads the next government.
He would make the need to increase people’s income a national agenda. His government would amend the Constitution and improve Thailand’s international influence and standing on the global stage. Finally, he said his government would push for better rights and equality for minorities including LGBTQ people.
The 60-year-old billionaire property tycoon was born on February 15, 1963.
He obtained a Master’s in finance from Claremont Graduate School in the United States.
Srettha began his career in 1986 as an assistant manager of P&G (Thailand). He later entered the property development business and climbed the ladder to become Sansiri’s president and CEO.