23 May 2024

Three outsiders have accepted Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s invitation to join the Cabinet as the new economic team, replacing the team of former Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, who quit Thursday.

Well-informed Government House sources named them as Mr. Pridi Daochai, president of the Thai Bankers’ Association, Mr. Pairin Chuchotethavorn, former deputy transport minister and former top executive of PTT and Dr. Tossaporn Sirisamphan, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB).

The fourth outsider, former Bank of Thailand governor Dr. Prasarn Trairatvorakul, who is reported to be have been offered the job as head of the economic team, replacing Dr. Somkid, declined the offer.

Because of this, the sources say that the Government will approach an alternative outsider and, if one cannot be found, one of the three candidates, possibly Mr. Pridi, would assume the role of Deputy Prime Minister and take on the finance portfolio.

The sources say that Mr. Pairin, who has extensive experience and expertise in the energy field, could be appointed Energy Minister.

Dr. Tossaporn may be named PM’s Office Minister, say the sources, adding that Mr. Peeraphan Saleeratthavipark, currently an advisor to the Prime Minister, might also be appointed PM’s Office minister.

The NESDB said in a press release today, however, that Dr. Tossaporn has refuted press reports that he will join the new Cabinet, insisting that he is still working at the NESDB and in charge of vetting all the projects under the 400 billion baht economic rehabilitation scheme.