By Thai Newsroom Reporters
PHEU THAI CANDIDATE FOR PRIME minister Srettha Thavisin was today (Aug.22) given overwhelming votes to rise to power whilst ironically de facto party boss Thaksin Shinawatra was put in jail hours earlier.
In today’s joint House/Senate meeting, Srettha was given 482 yea votes from lawmakers to become prime minister, compared to 165 nay votes whilst 81 others abstained from voting.
Srettha, former president of a giant property development firm, namely Sansiri Plc, and known as personally associated with deposed prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, has made it as the country’s 30th prime minister, succeeding de facto Ruam Thai Sang Chart boss Prayut Chan-o-cha who has run the country for nine years following the 2014 coup which he conducted as army chief.
Srettha’s overwhelming victory has automatically denied opportunities for Palang Pracharath leader Prawit Wongsuwan to rise to power since he was among those partisan contestants for prime minister in the May 14 election.
Most of the yea-voting senators are known to be loyal to Prayut aka “Uncle Tu ” whilst many nay-voting senators and those who abstained from voting are known as faithful to Prawit aka “Uncle Pom ”. Both “uncles’ camps” have already joined the Pheu Thai-led coalition government, among others.
Meanwhile, the de facto Pheu Thai boss was taken to the Supreme Court and then to Bangkok Remand Prison after he landed aboard a private jet at Don Mueang airport from Singapore, capping his 17 years of self-exile overseas.
The deposed prime minister has been earlier sentenced in absentia to a combined eight-year jail due to three separate cases of misconduct perpetrated in office nearly two decades ago.
It remains to be seen how long the 74-year-old de facto Pheu Thai boss will be put behind bars and whether the newly-elected prime minister could possibly take steps to literally help him out.
Over two decades earlier, Thaksin originally founded the party by the name of the Thai Rak Thai which was dissolved by court, resurrected and renamed as the People’s Power which followed suit by being dissolved, resurrected and finally renamed as the Pheu Thai.
Albeit residing abroad and globetrotting over the last 17 years following the 2006 coup which deposed him, the de facto Pheu Thai boss has invariably managed to put the party’s rank and file under his literally remote control.
Known as the most entrusted right-hand man for Thaksin, Pheu Thai wheeler-dealer Bhumtham Wechayachai has successfully negotiated the setup of the Pheu Thai-led coalition government consisting of both “uncles’ camps” and the Bhumjaithai under de facto boss Newin Chidchob, previously known as a protege of Thaksin’s, plus several small-sized and splinter parties.
The Move Forward, viewed by many among the Pheu Thai rank and file as their electoral archrivals, was dumped out of the Pheu Thai-led coalition in exchange for Newin’s party and the “uncles’ camps” jumping onto the bandwagon.
Thaksin who had originally coined the “landslide victory” campaign catchphrase only to lose face seeing his party outvoted by the Move Forward, the No. largest elected party, in the nationwide election was known to prefer dealing in hush-hush fashion with the conservative parties such as the Bhumjaithai and Palang Pracharath or even the ultra conservative camp, namely the Ruam Thai Sang Chart, according to partisan sources.
Bhumtham repeatedly excused the surprise about-face of the Pheu Thai, the second largest elected party, from their earlier-pledged campaign stands in antagonism to both “uncles’ camps” to finally join ranks with them, saying his 314 MPs-strong, Pheu Thai-led coalition had primarily looked to “melt the country’s 20-year-old political polarisation”, albeit in bittersweet fashion.
Top: Pheu Thai Party leader Chonlanan Srikaew, left, nominating Srettha Thavisin, right, for prime minister. Photo: Matichon
First below: Pheu Thai candidate for prime minister Srettha Thavisin after hearing he has been voted Thailand’s 30th prime minister. Photo: Thai Rath
Second below: Move Forward secretary-general Chaitawat Tulathon stating why his party could not vote Srettha Thavisin for prime minister.Photo: Matichon
Also read:Thaksin gets 8 years’ jail in 3 cases