Srettha Thavisin is Thailand’s 30th prime minister; the new prime minister is Thailand’s first since the 2014 military coup and is backed by the liberal Pheu Thai Party; no indication if new leader would push for legalization of gambling in Thailand
Press release by Patpicha Tanakasempipat Bloomberg
Srettha Thavisin, a former property tycoon, has become Thailand’s first new prime minister in nearly a decade.
Backed by a coalition of populist and conservative parties, Srettha won nearly two-thirds of lawmakers’ votes in a joint sitting of the House of Representatives and Senate on Tuesday. The election of the Pheu Thai Party’s candidate ends a three-month political gridlock that unnerved markets and sparked concerns of policy delays.
Srettha, 61, came into the race after the bid of Pita Limjaroenrat of Move Forward Party — which won the most House seats in the May 14 general election — was blocked by senators last month. Srettha’s victory on Tuesday came hours after billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra, a former premier who effectively helms Pheu Thai, ended his 15-year exile and flew home.
The new premier must now cobble together a cabinet whose members will be spread among the many coalition parties — a task which could take several weeks.
“I’m very honored to be selected Thailand’s 30th prime minister,” he said in a brief statement at party headquarters. “I will do my best and work tirelessly to elevate the well-being of all Thai people.”
Challenges awaiting the new premier include a society deeply polarized by post-election turmoil, a fragile economic recovery and household debt nationwide that has soared to a record high since a coup in 2014 lead to a near-decade of military-backed rule.
Who is Srettha?
The new prime minister spent more than 30 years in the real estate industry after earning an MBA from Claremont Graduate School in the US. Srettha joined Pheu Thai this year as chief adviser to Thaksin’s daughter Paetongtarn Shinawatra.
Srettha was a top executive at Sansiri Pcl before resigning as president and chief executive in April. He exited the luxury property developer by transferring all his shares to his daughter. He has also sold or handed over his stakes in other companies to comply with Thai laws.
An avid soccer player and a fan of Liverpool FC in the English Premier League, the new prime minister was a driving force behind the Sansiri Academy, which trains aspiring local players. The six-foot-three Srettha is married to Pakpilai Thavisin, a specialist in anti-aging medicine. The couple has three children.
Long before he ventured into politics, Srettha was a vocal champion of LGBTQ rights and environmental sustainability, as he willingly made comments about the subjects on social media — unlike most Thai businessmen.
To learn more on how Srettha become the top contender for his party, as well as details on allegations of tax evasion his upcoming agendas on governance as well as how investors view him, read the original article by Patpicha
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