Srettha scoffs at 'triple PM' scenario

Srettha scoffs at 'triple PM' scenario

Thaksin to receive visitors 'when ready'

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin greets reporters after a meeting at Government House on Feb 22. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin greets reporters after a meeting at Government House on Feb 22. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin shrugged off concerns of a possible "triple prime ministers" situation, insisting that he is the country's one and only prime minister despite the prevailing public opinion.

That said, while he said he does not have the power to change people's opinions, he was confident it wouldn't have any impact on his ability to perform as the head of government and meet his responsibilities as prime minister.

Since former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was released on parole two weeks ago, observers have been saying that he would soon return to politics and exert his influence, resulting in a situation that they are calling a "dual prime minister" situation.

With Thaksin's youngest daughter Paetongtarn herself holding prominent positions within the Pheu Thai Party, which Thaksin is widely considered the de facto leader of, some pundits are warning the situation might further devolve into a "triple prime minister" scenario, with Ms Paetongtarn playing the role of a backroom premier.

"The 'double' or 'triple prime minister' phenomenon is just a phrase. Everyone wants the country to move forward regardless of their political affiliations," the premier said.

Mr Srettha said that he is open to any advice from former prime ministers, including Thaksin, but that he himself would decide if their advice is actually practical.

He said he did not mind if his cabinet ministers paid Thaksin a visit because they had known each other for a long time.

When asked if he and Thaksin discussed a cabinet reshuffle during their private meeting last Saturday, he chose to sidestep the question.

"When the time comes, you'll know. And I'll be the one to forward the matter [reshuffle] for royal approval," he said.

Meanwhile, Pheu Thai leader Paetongtarn on Monday posted on Instagram a picture of herself and her two siblings at the family's Chan Song La residence on Sunday as they were about to have dinner with Thaksin and their mother, Khunying Potjaman Na Pombejra.

She wrote that it was a memorable day for the family and that Thaksin's grandchildren, sons-in-law, and daughter-in-law would gather for another get-together next Sunday.

In an interview on Sunday, Ms Paetongtarn said her father's mental and physical health has improved since he was released from the hospital.

He would be glad to receive visitors, especially from his long-time supporters, when he is ready, she said.

She brushed off questions about the double prime minister scenario.

When prodded about it, she let out a big sigh and said: "Why don't we drop this issue and let Mr Srettha work in peace?"

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