Cabinet line-up sent to King
Coalition partners to meet Monday, with strategy to support crop prices topping agenda
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has submitted the new cabinet line-up for royal approval and expects it will be sworn in soon. "You will see that the royal endorsement will come soon," he said on Friday.
However, he refused to confirm the line-up that was reported by the media, including the appointment of the controversial influential figure Capt Thammanat Prompao as labour minister. Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam denied that the release of the cabinet list was delayed and said that decisions had been put on hold during the Asean Summit last month.
The new government will be formed this month as required by the government's cabinet formation plan, he said. Mr Wissanu declined to elaborate on the line-up and neither confirmed nor denied if he would remain deputy prime minister.
Meanwhile, Kobsak Pootrakul, a spokesman of the core government party, Palang Pracharath (PPRP), said crop prices are likely to be fiercely debated when coalition partners meet on Monday to combine their election pledges into a collective government policy, while a minimum wage hike proposed by the PPRP is likely to take the backseat.
Boosting agricultural prices is one of the key campaign promises floated by the PPRP and the Democrat Party. Both parties have suggested different approaches to support farmers.
"One of the policy platforms that will be discussed is the policy on the price of agricultural commodities. The PPRP offers more than 10,000 baht per tonne for white paddy rice, more than 15,000 baht per tonne for jasmine rice, and 2,000 baht per harvested rai.
"This policy needs a tied-over budget and we have to see if the Democrat Party agrees to this plan first. If they don't, we have to thrash out the differences and find something that we can all agree on," he said.
Mr Kobsak said that the proposed daily wage hike, up to 400-425 baht, is not an urgent policy and if implemented across the board, it will have tremendous effects on the business sector. According to Mr Kobsak, the government has three weeks to draft the government policy manifesto to be delivered before parliament, and the key challenge will be finding a consensus among the coalition partners.
He said that among the PPRP's campaign promises to be put up for discussion are the welfare card policy, debt suspension for farmers and proposed welfare benefits for mothers-to-be.