Following the controversial and high-profile resignation of Finance Minister Predee Daochai after less than a month in office, the Prayut Chan-ocha administration has spent the past fortnight searching for a new candidate to take his place.
However, Thai Enquirer understands that several high profile bankers and economists have rejected Prayut because of the dire nature of the economy and the political infighting that had pushed out Predee.
According to local language media and key sources within the coalition government, the reason for Predee Daochai’s abrupt resignation earlier this month was infighting over appointments with Santi Promphat, the Deputy Finance Minister.
Santi had been tipped for the top finance post after Predee’s resignation but advisers to Prayut recommended that the career politician does not get the appointment as he was inexperienced on financial matters and that expertise was needed at a time when the economy was reeling from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sources inside the cabinet and coalition parties tell Thai Enquirer that a cabinet reshuffle is likely unless a suitable candidate is found by the end of September.
If the people that Prayut have approached continue to reject the prime minister, it is likely that Supattanapong Punmeechaow, the current Minister of Energy, will take the finance portfolio.
If that were to happen, sources say that Suriya Juangroongruangkit, the Minister of Industry, will take over the energy portfolio. That would leave the Ministry of Industry for Santi, an unjust reward perhaps for pushing out Predee.
It is understood by Thai Enquirer that a cabinet reshuffle is still the last option for Prime Minister Prayut who has told aides that he still prefers to fill the position with someone from outside politics and qualified for the position.