About Politics: The power behind the PM

About Politics: The power behind the PM
About Politics: The power behind the PM
Srettha: Says he runs the present

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin is refusing to let anyone think he is the country’s minimum head although he is having to increase down on the work in light of recent developments.

Setting the record straight, Mr Srettha has insisted he is the single perfect secretary and that he is fully in charge of running national interests.

The top, however, acknowledged common talk about a feasible” triple perfect minister” situation.

Since former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was released on parole on Feb 18, spectators have been speculating about him returning to politicians to exercise his control, resulting in a “dual perfect secretary” situation.

With Thaksin’s youngest daughter, Paetongtarn, herself holding dominant positions within Pheu Thai, of which Thaksin is commonly considered the de facto leader, some experts are warning the situation was more descend into a” triple perfect minister” scenario, with Ms Paetongtarn playing the role of a backroom premier.

Thaksin’s earlier release from a prison term he rarely really served may justify a frightened answer, if any, from Mr Srettha.

According to an spectator, Thaksin has been a tall figure over stalwarts in the decision Pheu Thai Party and Mr Srettha has frequently paid unequivocal compliments to Thaksin for his financial acumen and perspective.

In contrast, Thaksin has managed to maintain unwavering assistance within Pheu Thai despite his social hiatus during his personal- imposed captivity.

Thaksin has often dismissed the allegation that he ran Pheu Thai mildly and directed its steps after he fled the country in 2008. He fled immediately before the Supreme Court convicted him for helping his subsequently- wife, Khunying Potjaman Na Pombejra, stable prime land in Bangkok at a discount while he was perfect minister.

He also stands accused of continuing his string- pulling in the aftermath of the party’s fall from grace following the May 2014 coup which toppled the Pheu Thai- led administration.

Now that Thaksin has returned and faced justice — despite not having spent a single night in jail and subsequently been freed on parole while in the Police General Hospital where he was treated for multiple illnesses — the former prime minister is getting a new lease of life.

Many critics are wondering if Thaksin will openly advise Pheu Thai on its strategies.

However, any such display of “boldness” by Thaksin could cost Pheu Thai, according to a recent opinion poll.

Around 50 % of respondents in a National Institute of Development Administration ( Nida ) poll late last month believe Thaksin will eventually assume an advisory role in Pheu Thai.

Almost 27 % said they thought the party’s popularity would plummet if that happened.

While 50.3 % said Thaksin would play an advisory role in Pheu Thai, 26.7 % anticipated this would hurt the party’s popularity. Respondents also predicted the tussle between Pheu Thai and the main opposition Move Forward Party would intensify.

Critics have said it is common knowledge that Thaksin has been Pheu Thai’s backseat driver all along. With his conviction behind him, he is free to seize the opportunity to reclaim his position at the top of the party. If he were to do so, it is expected there will be no resistance within Pheu Thai.

On the other hand, Mr Srettha has no known backers whom he can count on in the ruling party to provide him with political security if and when he needs it to prolong his hold on power.

Although he is believed to be closely aligned with another former premier, Yingluck Shinawatra, Thaksin’s younger sister, he is at risk of being easily upstaged and sidelined in the event Thaksin decides to reclaim his power in Pheu Thai.

Thaksin, however, may be the least of Mr Srettha’s worries, considering Ms Paetongtarn is quickly learning the ropes regarding government affairs. Pheu Thai’s youngest leader has seen her political profile heightened by her appointment as deputy chair of the National Soft Power Development Committee.

She is making a name for herself managing the committee tasked with executing the government’s key policy to spread the country’s cultural influence on the global stage.

Ms Paetongtarn, as Pheu Thai leader, this week travelled to Cambodia as a guest of the government at the invitation of strongman and former Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen. The visit marks a formative step towards the top seat in the government in the future.

The observer noted that while Ms Paetongtarn’s prominence is growing fast, Mr Srettha’s drive to introduce the controversial digital wallet handout scheme appears to have lost steam with no definite time frame in sight for its implementation.

Paetongtarn: Elevated profile

An introduction to diplomacy

Pheu Thai Party leader Paetongtarn Shinawatra has been strategically enhancing her leadership image, with her recent visit to Cambodia viewed as a key move, according to observers.

The visit followed an invitation by former Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen, president of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party ( CPP ).

The invitation was extended during his visit to paroled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra — Ms Paetongtarn’s father. The former Cambodian premier was the first VIP guest to visit Thaksin in Bangkok last month shortly after he was released from custody at the Police General Hospital.

Ms Paetongtarn and her delegation of young Pheu Thai executives met Hun Sen, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet — Hun Sen’s son — and Cambodia’s acting National Assembly President, Cheam Yeap, during the March 18- 19 visit.

After concluding the trip, she posted on her X account that it was a great honour to receive suggestions about party management and political work from Hun Sen.

” It was a great pleasure to build on our cordial relations and, more importantly, to learn from the experiences of such a distinguished leader”, she wrote.

According to political watchers, the visit to Cambodia has not only elevated Ms Paetongtarn’s political profile but also signified a new momentum in bilateral relations between Thailand and Cambodia.

Many also see Ms Paetongtarn following in her father’s footsteps, using personal connections to bolster national ties rather than relying solely on traditional diplomatic means between Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and his Cambodian counterpart.

Olarn Thinbangtieo, a political science lecturer at Burapha University, said Pheu Thai has effectively “killed two birds with one stone” with Ms Paetongtarn’s recent trip.

The visit puts Ms Paetongtarn on the international stage while demonstrating that national administration is not centralised around Mr Srettha. It reflects that the ruling party under Ms Paetongtarn is open to young politicians showcasing their potential, according to the analyst.

However, such close ties between the Shinawatra family and the Cambodian leadership mean that any future deals with the neighbouring country will be subject to close scrutiny and speculation.

” Their close ties will raise questions about a conflict of interest. Let’s see if the two countries will sign any agreements in the near future”, he said.

Hun Manet came to Bangkok on an official visit in early February and the two sides pledged to push forward a range of issues including holding further discussions on the joint exploitation of hydrocarbon resources in the Overlapping Claims Area ( OCA ) in the Gulf of Thailand claimed by both countries.

The OCA, which covers 26, 000 square kilometres, is believed to be rich in fossil- fuel resources. Several rounds of talks on the joint development of energy resources were held previously, but no progress was made due to a dispute over the maritime territory in the OCA.

According to Mr Olarn, Ms Paetongtarn’s trip could also be interpreted as Thaksin’s attempt to shift some attention to his daughter. The ex- premier, whose political clout in the ruling party is undeniable, became the focus of attention after he was granted parole in late February.

Ms Paetongtarn’s visit to Cambodia was her first international trip as party leader, which suggests that the former Cambodian prime minister is fully aware of where the centre of power lies and with whom he should engage diplomatically.

” No one is paying enough attention to Mr Srettha and Ms Paetongtarn. Thaksin is the only one who can still attract attention. Hun Sen must have known and invited Ms Paetongtarn despite her having no cabinet position”, he said.

Pheu Thai secretary- general Sorawong Thienthong, who took part in the Cambodian visit, insisted the meeting between Ms Paetongtarn and Cambodian leaders had nothing to do with national administration and described the trip as party- to- party diplomacy between Pheu Thai and the Cambodian People’s Party.

He said Hun Sen provided some guidance on running a political party to serve the people’s interests, opening opportunities and developing the potential of the younger generation.

” The discussions were all about political party affairs, But the cabinet ministers of the two countries may hold a joint meeting later this year, and that’s when national administration will be addressed”, Mr Sorawong said.