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

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill More

What Happens When Americans Eat What They Tweet

You are what you tweet, according to new maps that show a correlation between obesity and tweeting about high-fat foods 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.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs