Private sector lauds speaker choice

Private sector lauds speaker choice

Move paves way for smooth transition

MFP leader Mr Pita, left, and Pheu Thai Party leader Cholnan Srikaew shake hands after a meeting on Monday. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
MFP leader Mr Pita, left, and Pheu Thai Party leader Cholnan Srikaew shake hands after a meeting on Monday. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Business leaders are expecting a smoother path for the Move Forward Party (MFP) and its seven political party allies to form a government and deal with economic challenges after settling on a House speaker.

The MFP was squabbling with the Pheu Thai Party over the top job in the House of Representatives, as both wanted their MPs to become the speaker.

They settled the conflict on Monday when the new parliamentary session started.

Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, 79, the leader of the Prachachat Party, was selected -- a move seen as a compromise between the two parties.

Sanan Angubolkul, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said the House speaker pick indicates that all eight parties remain aligned, following the goals laid out in their memorandum of understanding, with a common aim to propose MFP leader Pita Limjaroenrat as the new prime minister.

The formation of the government is progressing according to democratic principles, he said.

With the House speaker issue now settled, the focus will shift to the selection of the prime minister, said Mr Sanan.

"We have to closely monitor every step of how the selection process for prime minister will unfold. If a new government can be formed without protests and stabilises, the economy should be able to recover quickly, in line with the positive economic outlook predicted by various agencies," he said.

"The World Bank recently upgraded Thailand's growth forecast from 3.6% to 3.9% for this year."

Chaichan Chareonsuk, chairman of the Thai National Shippers' Council, said the House speaker choice was appropriate as Mr Wan Noor is considered a political veteran and a neutral figure who can work with all political parties.

"I hope the process of selecting the prime minister and forming a cabinet will progress smoothly," he said.

The business sector wants a conflict-free, stable political situation, which is important to build business confidence among investors, said Kriengkrai Thiennukul, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

Since the May 14 general election, both Thai and foreign investors have kept a close watch on who will succeed Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

The political situation is among the topics up for discussion by the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) at its scheduled meeting on Wednesday, in addition to domestic and overseas factors affecting the economy, according to the FTI, a key member of the committee.

Another key issue is the export slowdown, which is causing concern among manufacturers and exporters, said the federation.

The customs-cleared value of exports dipped for the eighth consecutive month in May, falling by 4.6% to US$24.3 billion.

The FTI expects zero export growth for Thailand this year, with the worst-case scenario a contraction of 1%.

The federation plans to ask the JSCCIB to set up a panel to accelerate a plan to export plants to the Gulf Cooperation Council.

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