The government of new Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin was sworn into office Tuesday by King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
Prime Minister Srettha pledged that this will be “a government for the people” in his inaugural address delivered in Bangkok shortly after he and his 33 cabinet ministers were sworn in. He said he would formally unveil his policy agenda next Monday.
The 61-year-old real estate tycoon was elected by Thai lawmakers on August 22 after his nomination by the Pheu Thai party, the latest to emerge from the political movement forged by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was popular among Thailand’s rural poor for such policies as universal health care and cash payments to farmers.
Sretta’s nomination ended a political standoff that had lingered since the progressive Move Forward Party and its coalition partners scored an upset victory in May’s parliamentary elections. Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat failed to get the necessary votes to win the post due to strong opposition in the conservative, military-backed senate.
Pheu Thai came in second in May’s elections, but formed an alliance with military and pro-royalist lawmakers to break the stalemate.
Srettha will also hold the post of finance minister, with Pheu Thai also holding the key posts of foreign, defense, commerce, transport and health ministries.
Thaksin returned to Bangkok the same day as Sretta’s election to end a 15-year self-imposed exile begun two years after he was overthrown by a military aligned with members of Thailand’s pro-monarchy elite, who saw him as a threat to their longstanding grip on social order.
He surrendered to police and was ordered by Thailand’s Supreme Court to serve an eight-year prison sentence based on previous convictions on corruption charges. The king commuted Thaksin’s sentence to one year last Friday.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters.