The Seri Ruam Thai Leader’s Struggle
Pol Gen Sereepisuth Teemeeyaves, leader of the Seri Ruam Thai Party, has experienced a painful ordeal as his loyalty to Pheu Thai was not repaid with a place in the new cabinet. Despite the Seri Ruam Thai Party shrinking in size, Pol Gen Sereepisuth remained a staunch supporter of Pheu Thai during the government formation period.
The Seri Ruam Thai Party stayed aligned with the pro-democracy alliance led by Pheu Thai during the previous Prayut Chan-o-cha administration. However, following the general election and a series of events leading to tensions between Pheu Thai and the Move Forward Party, cracks began to show in the pro-democracy alliance.
Cabinet Formation and Broken Alliances
During the government’s formation, Pol Gen Sereepisuth claimed that the Move Forward Party gave Pheu Thai a free hand to assemble a new government. As the new coalition took shape, he realized that he would not be granted a cabinet appointment. Critics compared his situation to the treatment the Move Forward Party received from Pheu Thai.
Despite not being a part of the coalition, Seri Ruam Thai can still act as an opposition party. However, reconciliation with the Move Forward Party is unlikely due to the recent events and tensions between the parties.
The 10,000-Baht Digital Handout Scheme
When Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin announced the coalition government’s policies, many questions were raised about Pheu Thai’s flagship 10,000-baht digital handout scheme. This policy aims to provide a one-time handout to every Thai citizen aged 16 and older to purchase essential goods at local shops within four kilometers of their registered address, stimulating local economies. The digital money, which cannot be exchanged for cash and must be used within six months, is intended to be transparent and traceable using blockchain technology.
However, concerns have been raised about the funding and practicality of this policy. Economists suggest that the policy should target only those in need to reduce the budget required, while tech specialists argue that blockchain technology may not be practical for this purpose.
A Challenging Path for Pheu Thai Party
Despite the criticism, the Pheu Thai Party is determined to implement the digital wallet scheme to restore its eroding popularity after ditching the Move Forward Party. The party also has plans to upgrade services under the universal healthcare scheme and to adopt a decentralization policy with “CEO governors.”
Although these schemes worked well for the former Thai Rak Thai Party, the political landscape has changed, and it remains to be seen whether Pheu Thai can fully restore confidence and succeed in its endeavors. The current allocation of cabinet seats reflects the party’s limitations, and its policies lack a clear direction.