The formation of a new coalition government in Thailand is gathering momentum with Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin finalizing his cabinet lineup that will probably see the former property tycoon retaining control of the finance ministry to bolster growth through fiscal stimulus.
(Bloomberg) — The formation of a new coalition government in Thailand is gathering momentum with Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin finalizing his cabinet lineup that will probably see the former property tycoon retaining control of the finance ministry to bolster growth through fiscal stimulus.
The list of ministers and their portfolios is expected to be submitted to the cabinet secretariat on Monday to begin the process of vetting their qualifications, Srettha told reporters in Bangkok. Once the list is cleared in two to three days, it would be submitted for royal endorsement, he said.
Nominees of Pheu Thai, which leads the 11-party coalition, are likely to keep key ministries such as commerce and transport in addition to finance, local media reported Monday. While military-linked United Thai Nation is set to be allotted energy and industry ministries, Bhumjaithai party, the second-largest group in the coalition, will occupy the ministries of interior, education and labor, the Bangkok Post reported.
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Srettha was elected as the leader last week, ending months of political impasse that led to a partial policy paralysis and exit of foreign investors from the nation’s stocks and bonds. Srettha’s first challenge will be to finalize the state budget for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1 in the backdrop of a slowdown in China, Thailand’s top trading partner, a looming drought and near-record household debt.
The new government will announce its policy priorities before mid-September in parliament once the cabinet is sworn in, Srettha said, adding the focus will be on driving growth in the short term by promoting tourism.
“Tourism is the best short-term economic stimulus before the digital cash scheme kicks in around the first quarter next year,” Srettha said.
Srettha’s Pheu Thai party has pledged to distribute 10,000-baht ($283) each to about 55 million Thais who are 16 years and above for spending on goods and services in one’s neighborhood as a one-off handout to stimulate economy.
While the election of prime minister and his royal endorsement have removed one source of political uncertainty, the new government will find it challenging to keep the balance among diverse forces within the coalition that may come at the cost of policymaking effectiveness, according to Fitch Ratings.
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