Technocrats and coalition partners dominate new cabinet line-up

The new cabinet list has been published in the Royal Gazette, with technocrats taking the Energy and Finance ministries, and Labour and the PM’s Office going to the Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) network. 

The announcement was made on Thursday 6 August after more than a month of speculation. There are six changes in the cabinet:

  • Predee Daochai replaces Uttama Savanayana as Finance Minister.
  • Supattanapong Punmeechaow replaces Sontirat Sontijirawong as Energy Minister and also becomes Deputy PM.
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs Don Pramudwinai takes on an additional role as Deputy PM.
  • Anek Laothamatas, leader of the Action Coalition for Thailand (ACT) party replaces Suvit Maesincee as Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation.
  • Suchart Chomklin replaces M.R. Chatumongkol Sonakul, former ACT leader, as Minister of Labour.
  • Narumon Pinyosinwat, former cabinet spokesperson, becomes Deputy Minister of Labour.
  • Anucha Nakasai becomes PM’s Office Minister.

On 16 July, Somkid Jatusripitak, the Deputy PM for economic affairs, who had served under Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha since the 2014 coup d’état, Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana, Energy Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong, Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Suvit Maesincee and Kobsak Pootrakool, Deputy Secretary-General of the Prime Minister’s Office, all submitted their resignations, paving way for the reshuffle.

New cabinet to face economic challenges ahead

3 out of 7 new cabinet members are from the PPRP, while the ACT seat moves from Labour to Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation and the Chart Pattana Party led by Tewan Liptapanlop loses its cabinet quota.

Don, who has served the Prayut’ administration since the 2014 coup, is also a runner-up in the senate list. It was speculated that he would be ousted in the reshuffle but his position is in fact enhanced.

The names of technocrats like Predee, Chair of the Thai Bankers' Association, and Supattanapong, former President and Chief Executive Officer at PTTGC, a PTT subsidiary, were widely tipped as replacements for the economy-related ministers who had failed to cope with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Source: 
prachatai.com/journal/2020/08/88918