Speculation is intensifying about the lineup of the next cabinet with coalition-leader Pheu Thai and its ally, Bhumjaithai, haggling over the interior portfolio, according to sources.
Newly appointed Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin is expected to concurrently serve as finance minister while a close associate of outgoing prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is tipped for the post of defence minister.
According to Pheu Thai sources, coalition allies are still bargaining for their share of cabinet seats as Pheu Thai wants to take the helm at the Interior and Transport Ministries.
In particular, Pheu Thai seeks to use the Interior Ministry as a platform to solidify its support bases and win back supporters who were upset after the party decided to team up with its former foes -- the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) and the United Thai Nation (UTN) Party, the sources said.
The sources added that deputy Pheu Thai leader Phumtham Wechayachai is tipped to serve as deputy prime minister as well as the interior minister.
However, Bhumjaithai also has its eye on the interior portfolio, the sources said, adding that Pheu Thai may let it take the labour minister post instead as a consolation prize.
Meanwhile, Suriya Jungrungreangkit of Pheu Thai is expected to become transport minister without any credible rivals, the sources said.
The sources went on to say Mr Srettha is expected to concurrently serve as finance minister while Gen Nattapon Nakpanich, a former secretary-general of the National Security Council and a close associate of Gen Prayut, is seen as taking the defence portfolio.
Sutin Klungsang previously emerged as a candidate for the defence minister post, only for this to be met with fierce resistance from the military top brass, meaning he will most likely have to take the post of education minister instead, the sources said.
Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew is expected to become the public health minister, while party secretary-general Prasert Chantararuangthong has his eyes on the digital economy and society minister post, and Julapun Amornvivat of Pheu Thai covets the role of foreign affairs minister, the sources said.
Deputy prime ministers from Pheu Thai are expected to include Somsak Thepsutin and Chusak Sirinil.
According to the sources, Capt Thamanat Prompow, the PPRP's secretary-general, will emerge as the agriculture and cooperatives minister while Pol Gen Patcharawat Wongsuwon, the party's chief adviser and the younger brother of party leader Gen Prawit Wongsuwon, is expected to serve as deputy prime minister and natural resources and environment minister.
Bhumjaithai leader Anutin Charnvirakul is expected to become a deputy prime minister while Pol Gen Permpoon Chidchob, younger brother of the party's co-founder, Newin Chidchob, is likely to serve as labour minister, the sources said, adding the party would also be allocated the social development and human security portfolio.
Pirapan Salirathavibhaga, the UTN leader, is expected to become energy minister and Supattanapong Panmeechaow, a UTN list MP, is tipped for the post of industry minister.
Chartthaipattana leader Varawut Silpa-archa is gunning for commerce minister while Pol Col Tawee Sodsong, a list MP of the Prachachat Party, would become justice minister, the sources said.
Mr Srettha paid a courtesy call on Gen Prayut at Government House on Thursday. "Gen Prayut was nice and showed me around," he said.
"He told me I am from the business sector, and I may have a different working approach," Mr Srettha said. "He said there are several other sectors that also need to be taken into account. He asked me to carry on with any decent policies he initiated."
On Tuesday, a joint sitting of the House and Senate elected Mr Srettha as the new prime minister with 482 votes for, 165 against and 81 abstentions.
The former property tycoon received royal endorsement to serve as the nation's 30th prime minister on Wednesday.