By Thai Newsroom Reporters
A SICKLY THAKSIN SHINAWATRA, the de facto Pheu Thai boss, has managed to virtually put his hands on the business of compromising and allocating cabinet portfolios among varied coalition partners, a partisan source said today (Aug.23).
Having been transferred from Bangkok Remand Prison to the Police Hospital for illnesses reported by prison officials in the middle of the night, the deposed prime minister now literally has access to a cellphone with which he could play his part in the allocating of the cabinet portfolios, most of which are proportionately given to his own party. No cellphone is allowed for use by inmates at Bangkok Remand Prison or any other prisons.
The de facto Pheu Thai boss yesterday returned from 17 years of self-exile abroad, was almost immediately brought to the Supreme Court to formally hear of his earlier convicted eight-year jail term due to a few separate cases of misconduct and was then brought to Bangkok Remand Prison where he barely stayed for half a day at a nursing unit in the premises of the prison.
Given the fact that conflict of interest still prevails among the coalition partners over major portfolios, especially those in charge of “fat cat” agencies, such as the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Agriculture & Cooperatives and the Ministry of Transport, as well as the much-coveted Ministry of Energy and Ministry of Tourism and Sports, among others, Thaksin has been more or less prompted to literally play a decisive role from his hospital bed, according to the partisan source.
Currently being unsettled, yet tussled between the Pheu Thai, the Bhumjaithai, the Palang Pracharath and the Ruam Thai Sang Chart are the agriculture, tourism, transport and energy portfolios.
Pheu Thai wheeler-dealer Bhumtham Wechayachai who had been earlier assigned by the de facto party boss to negotiate the setup of the Pheu Thai-led coalition government practically could not satisfy the insistent, cantankerous coalition partners when it comes to the allocation of varied ministerial seats, thus calling for Thaksin to play his part in virtually hands-on fashion, the source said.
Given a 9:1 ratio between the number of MPs which a coalition partner has in hand and the number of ministerial seats to assume, Thaksin’s camp with 141 MPs is given 15 seats, the Bhumjaithai with 71 MPs under de facto party boss Newin Chidchob is given eight seats, the Palang Pracharath with 40 MPs led by Prawit “Uncle Pom” Wongsuwan four seats, the Ruam Thai Sang Chart with 36 MPs under de facto party boss Prayut Chan-o-cha four seats, the Chart Thai Pattana with 10 MPs led by Varawut Silpa-archa one seat and the Prachachart with nine MPs led by House Speaker Wan Muhamad Noor Matha one seat.
The Pheu Thai-led coalition government is legally provided a maximum of 36 cabinet members including newly-voted Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, known as personally associated with Thaksin’s sister/deposed prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Pheu Thai de facto boss/ former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Top Photo: Matichon, Front Page photo: Thai Rath
Insert: Srettha Thavisin today received royal endorsement as prime minister. Photo: Thai Rath