Prayuth Chan-ocha to lead shaky Thai coalition dominated by ex-military personnel

Thai King Vajiralongkorn will today swear in a new cabinet, led by the military leader Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. Following

Prayuth Chan ocha inaguration

Photo: Reuters

Thai King Vajiralongkorn will today swear in a new cabinet, led by the military leader Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Following a controversial election, Mr Prayuth’s Palang Pracharath party claimed a slim four-seat majority in the lower house after cobbling together a coalition of 19 parties. Most of the powerful cabinet positions will be retained by former military leaders. Indeed, Mr Prayuth himself will also serve as defence minister, while three of five deputy prime ministers will be his allies.

As such, expect policy continuity from the previous junta government, which has ruled Thailand since 2014. A stimulus package worth $3.3 billion is expected to be swiftly approved to boost sluggish economic growth—growth was forecast at 3.2% this year, compared to 4.1% in 2018. Work on the $50 billion Eastern Economic Corridor, an investment project that aims to transform Thailand’s eastern seaboard into an economic hub, will also continue.

Nevertheless, stability in Thailand should not be taken for granted. A 19-party coalition government working on a 4-seat majority assures that there will be difficulties passing legislation. This could become apparent as soon as October, when the country’s budget will need to be approved.

Wake up smarter with an assessment of the stories that will make headlines in the next 24 hours. Download The Daily Brief.