Possible cabinet reshuffle will not affect fiscal 2021 budget bill; new economic team coming

A likely cabinet reshuffle will not affect the parliament’s debate on the fiscal 2021 budget bill or the government’s economic team, top government officials said on Friday.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said on Friday that the resignation of the ruling party’s key leaders from the ruling party will not effect the budget committee or budget debates for next year.

The four resignations from the Palang Pracharat Party on Thursday, of which three are ministers, are;

  1. Uttama Savanayana, Minister of Finance, Deputy Prime Minister and Former Party Leader
  2. Sontirat Sontijirawong, Minister of Energy 
  3. Suvit Maesincee, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovations
  4. Kobsak Pootrakool, deputy secretary-general to the prime minister

Wissanu added that there is currently no sign of a cabinet reshuffle from Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha. 

The PM said on Thursday that he will have to talk it over with the coalition parties first before making any decision. “This is in accordance with the political mechanism,” he said.

He added that the parties can propose their own candidates as they do have a quota for the ministerial positions; however, any outside candidates will be picked by him.

Prayut said that with the ongoing pandemic and economic hardship, the current ministers will have to keep on working, and he will personally decide when the reshuffle will happen later.

The Prime Minister also postponed a meeting for economic affairs on Friday because of the resignations.

The meeting was supposed to involved members of the economic cabinet, including Somkid Jatusripitak, Deputy Prime Minister in Charge of economic affairs, finance minister Uttama, and Veerathai Santiprabhob, the outgoing Bank of Thailand’s governor. 

Senior officials from other public and private agencies, including the Ministry of Transport, the National Economic and Social Development Council, the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking, and BOT’s Financial Institutions Policy Committee were also at the meeting.

Analysis 

Asia Plus Securities said on Friday that there are now four ministerial positions that are currently occupied by ministers who do not belong to any political party. 

This means that the balance of quota for ministerial positions based on party members of parliament will be changed. Naturally, there will be pressure for a correction.

APS consequently believes that there will be a cabinet reshuffle soon as there is pressure to revive the economy.

If the government does not hurry and find suitable candidates for the economic ministerial positions, the acceleration of existing relief measures and the discussion for new stimulus measures will not be effective.

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