News / Asia

Thailand's New PM Seen Capable of Compromises, Not Miracles

Thailand's new caretaker prime minister, Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan, Bangkok May 7, 2014
Thailand's new caretaker prime minister, Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan, Bangkok May 7, 2014
Reuters
With his willingness to compromise and public relations skills,  Thailand's new caretaker prime minister, Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan, may be what is needed to take the heat out of a political crisis that is close to boiling point.
 
Niwatthamrong, 66, will hold the fort until elections tentatively slated for July 20, but he inherits a stuttering economy and limited powers that for months dogged predecessor Yingluck Shinawatra, who the Constitutional Court ordered to step down on Wednesday for abuse of power.

 
Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra arrives at the Constitution court in Bangkok, May 6, 2014.Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra arrives at the Constitution court in Bangkok, May 6, 2014.
x
Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra arrives at the Constitution court in Bangkok, May 6, 2014.
Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra arrives at the Constitution court in Bangkok, May 6, 2014.
While barely known outside Thailand, Niwatthamrong has been in and around the fringes of Thai politics for years and has earned the trust of Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck's exiled brother and founder of a populist political juggernaut that has won every election for the past 13 years.
 
Niwatthamrong was chief executive of broadcaster iTV, the once independent television channel that became the Shinawatras' public relations machine when Thaksin's telecoms conglomerate Shin Corporation bought a majority stake in it during his first term in office from 2001-2005.
 
Niwatthamrong was an executive with Shin Corp where he sat on board meetings with Yingluck, who was at the time a CEO of its unit, cellphone operator Advanced Info Service.
 
He was brought into politics to help neophyte Yingluck in 2011 as part of a team that crafted her public image and swept her to power in a landslide election win.
 
He then served as a minister in her office, in charge of public relations and the media. Considered a safe pair of hands, he was later given the commerce portfolio to manage the fallout of a rice price guarantee scheme that incurred massive losses.
 
“Thaksin trusts him a lot, he's got a reputation as a good networker who knows PR and can deal with all sides,” said Naruemon Thabchumpon, a political science lecturer at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University.
 
“Niwatthamrong is not abrasive and he knows not to make enemies, especially at this time.”
 
His close allegiance with the Shinawatras means he is unlikely to placate conservatives and anti-government protesters, who numbered more than 200,000 in some Bangkok rallies and forced the annulment of a Feb. 2 election.
 
After half a year of turmoil, Thaksin's Puea Thai Party would be content just to hang on for a few months longer until an election it is almost certain to win, with or without a Shinawatra on the ticket.
 
“The urgent priority for us is ensuring a new election is scheduled,” caretaker education minister, Chaturon Chaisang, told Reuters. “Niwatthamrong is a compromising person and he'll have everyone helping him all the way.”

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jeff Robinson from: Bangkok
May 07, 2014 6:08 PM
ITV was a very good investigative news service till they started investigating Taksin..He then bought it, fired all the reporters and this article clearly states what Niwatthamrongs payoff for that was

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid