Thailand’s new PM Srettha takes office after royal endorsement

BANGKOK: Thailand’s newly elected Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin took office today after being endorsed by the King.

The 61-year-old Srettha received King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s written royal command at a ceremony held at Pheu Thai headquarters this evening – a day after he was backed by 482 lawmakers in a 747-joint sitting of the parliament.

He paid his respect to the portrait of the King as a symbolic gesture of accepting the Royal Command to be the prime minister.

“I, Srettha Thavisin, would like to serve as a prime minister who is dedicated to working hard, listening to the people, and moving Thailand forward to create a better future for our children. Thank you,” he said after receiving the royal endorsement.

Srettha is expected to name his cabinet and seek royal approval for the line-up in the coming days.

He pledged to promote an inclusive society, implement policies to address the country’s challenges, and help move Thailand forward.

He said Thailand is at a critical juncture, facing a number of crises and problems, including economic and income inequality, foreign policy challenges, corruption, misconduct, and injustice.

“I will prioritise the interests of the nation and the people. I believe we can build a better future for our country in the next four years,” he said.

Srettha is Thailand’s first civilian prime minister in over nine years.

He is leading an 11-party coalition government that includes two military-linked rivals: Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) and the United Thai Nation (UTN). The coalition has 314 seats in the 500-member House of Representatives.

Pheu Thai Party, which came second in the general election with 141 seats, has joined forces with two parties backed by the military to form the government and end the pollical gridlock after the general election.

Meanwhile, outgoing prime minister Prayuth Chan o-cha congratulated Srettha and wished him luck. –Bernama