New Thai PM acknowledges ‘pressure’ to solve issues, asks for time

Bangkok, Sep 6 (EFE).- Thailand’s new prime minister acknowledged Wednesday he feels pressure to address the country’s social problems, but asked for time to prove the independence and effectiveness of his administration.

“There is pressure because the people’s issues are important, but by accepting the post of prime minister, I have also accepted its responsibilities. I am committed to improving the country, but it will take some time,” said Srettha Thavisin in his first appearance before the media after he was sworn in on Tuesday.

The new cabinet, which was formed more than three months after the May 14 election due to a blockade by the unelected Senate, also met for the first time to establish the working methods for the next four years.

The new government headed by Srettha, from the Pheu Thai Party which failed to keep its promise not to ally with pro-military formations, has caused some confusion among followers and generated criticism from detractors, who see a risk of possible interference from former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Late last month Thaksin returned from 15 years in self-exile abroad and was immediately jailed for conflict of interest and abuse of authority while in power. Many suspect he could be leading the party, of which his youngest daughter is a prominent member, from behind the scenes.

But Srettha assured Wednesday that his government is independent.

“Give us some time in governance. Allow three months or six months and then ask us again. I believe I have intellectual independence, not bound by the Shinawatra family,” he said.

“However, if anyone has information or suggestions beneficial for our fellow citizens, I am willing to listen, because we work for the people.”

A successful businessman and property tycoon, Srettha has stipulated as priorities for his government the country’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, the reduction of social inequality, the comeback of tourism and the strengthening of foreign relations.

The prime minister will attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York between Sep. 19-26 in order to expand Thailand’s ties with other countries.

“Personally, I am trying to arrange meetings with world business leaders to discuss investment opportunities in Thailand,” he said Wednesday. EFE


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