Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Thailand: Update--Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan, 66, a Bizarre Choice as Acting Prime Minister

According to the BBC, the Constitutional Court ruled earlier today Bangkok time that incumbent Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawantra, 46, illegally transferred her national security head to reward a relative.

The remaining cabinet members have nominated the commerce minister and Deputy Prime Minister, to replace the ousted prime minister. 

The judges stopped short of holding the entire cabinet responsible for transferring the national security adviser. Only nine ministers, directly involved in approving the transfer, have been ordered to resign.  

COMMENT:  As I have said so often in the past, political affiliation in Thailand can be very incestuous and often lingers from the time Thais are socialized at a very young age where ethnicity reigns.

The remaining members of the Cabinet decided to appoint Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan, 66, to serve as caretaker Prime Minister until national elections can be held. 

Niwattumrong  is a Thai businessman and politician who currently serves acting PM. He formerly served as commerce minister and Deputy Prime Minister. 

Niwattumrong, a member of Yingluck's Pheu Thai Party, previously served as director of the notorious and controversial rice pledging scheme, where rice was bought at inflated prices from farmers and subsequently was left to rot due to a lack of buyers.

As I have noted previously, the rice scheme was the brain-child of Thaksin, Yingluck's elder brother, who was ousted as PM in 2006 by the Thai military.

It is also noteworthy to emphasize that Niwattumrong is a business associate of Thaksin Shinawatra, 64.

The acting PM  holds a bachelor's degree in education from Srinakharinwirot University and  a master's degree in computer science from Chulalongkorn University.