11 July 2024

Former real estate tycoon Srettha Thavisin has been elected as the 30th prime minister of Thailand on Tuesday, after having received overwhelming support from members of parliament and senators in a joint sitting.

The final vote tally was 482 in favour, 165 against and 81 abstentions from the combined 705 MPs and senators participating. Of the 482 votes for Srettha, 330 are MPs and 152 are senators. Of the 164 votes against him, 152 votes are MPs and 12 are senators. The 81 abstentions were 13 MPs and 68 senators.

Srettha, 60, is one of the Pheu Thai party’s three prime ministerial candidates, which also include Paetongtarn Shinawatra and Chaikasem Nitisiri. He waited at Pheu Thai headquarters for the final result of the vote, because he is not an MP.

Srettha is a former president and chief executive of real estate developer Sansiri Plc, the second largest real estate company in Thailand.

During the campaign ahead of the May general election, Srettha pledged repeatedly that he would never partner with either the Palang Pracharath or United Thai Nation parties.

Pheu Thai, as the core party in a government forming coalition, were, however, in desperate need of as many votes in the House as possible, so it has had to renege on these election promises and has welcomed both of these parties into the coalition.

Srettha said “I made the pledge on the expectation that the Pheu Thai party would win a landslide victory, but it didn’t and the political mathematics have changed as a result.”

He tried to explain that he had not lied to the people, saying that the party had worked in opposition for the past nine years and the people’s standard of living dropped, “so, it is necessary to forget what we said”.

With no political experience at all, Srettha once said he had no preconditions for accepting the nomination, but the country must come first. “Today many people are concerned about the economy and inequality,” he said, adding in his article headlined “Thailand: This is Our Future” that Thailand needs to “create hope and inspiration” for young people”.

Born on February 15th, 1963, Srettha received a Master’s in Business Administration from Claremont Graduate University in the US. He began his career as an assistant product manager at consumer goods giant P&G Thailand, before moving into to the real estate sector.

He is married to Dr. Pakpilai Thavisin, a specialist in anti-aging medicine. They have three children.

According to Wikipedia, Sansiri was founded in 1984 as the holding company to manage the assets of the Chutrakul family, before merging with the Lamsam family company in 1994. The company has been listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand since 1996.