It’s official: Yingluck is prime minister

2011 08 09 yingluck

Just noting briefly, for the record, that it’s now official.

As the AP reports:

Yingluck Shinawatra, the sister of an ousted Thai leader, vowed Monday to work for national reconciliation as she formally became the country’s first female prime minister.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej certified her appointment as the country’s 28th prime minister with a royal command presented at a ceremony at her Pheu Thai party headquarters.

Read the whole thing.

There’s also a piece from the BBC, and a story in today’s Bangkok Post.

Up next: We’ll learn about her Cabinet.

As ever, stay tuned, Thailand-watchers.

(Image: Bangkok Post.)

Yingluck elected Thailand’s prime minister: quick news round-up

As I noted in the update to my previous post, presumed Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is now Prime Minister Elect Yingluck Shinawatra.

The New York Times reports:

Thailand’s Parliament elected Yingluck Shinawatra the country’s first female prime minister on Friday, a month after her party won a landslide victory over a coalition backed by Thailand’s military and traditional political and business elites.

Ms. Yingluck, a political novice, received 296 votes in the 500-seat parliament, a reflection of her party’s comfortable majority.

Her position is almost official:

Ms. Yingluck’s selection must be approved by King Bhumibol Adulyadej before she can officially take office. Thai media have speculated that she will announce her Cabinet within days.

The AP also has some analysis and says:

Before Yingluck can officially assume the post, however, King Bhumibol Adulyadej must endorse her in a separate ceremony expected to take place as early as Friday evening.

The FT notes that endorsement could come as late as Monday:

Ms Yingluck, 44, will formally assume office once the king endorses the parliamentary vote confirming her as the country’s first female prime minister, something that is expected by Monday.

The Wall Street Journal‘s lede points to what could be challenges ahead:

Thailand’s parliament formally elected Yingluck Shinawatra as the country’s next prime minister, signaling the start of a new but potentially rocky era in the Southeast Asian nation’s long-running political sagas.

And later:

Analysts generally believe it will only be a matter of time—possibly only a few months—before more serious tensions emerge, most likely around the issue of when or if Mr. Thaksin can return.

(All emphasis mine.)

Yingluck set to become Thailand’s first female prime minister today

2011 08 05 yingluck

Yingluck Shinawatra is set to become Thailand’s first female prime minister when parliament votes today following the July 3 election.

Suranand Vejjajiva has a Bangkok Post op-ed describing the challenges she faces:

First, Ms Yingluck will have to prove to the general public that without any extended assistance from her brother Thaksin, she can sit at the head of the cabinet and control the game on her own.

Second, Ms Yingluck must muster all her forces to be able to deflect the attacks on the parliament floor from the Democrat Party which, throughout history, has established itself at being best while in the opposition.

Third, the elite establishment remains deeply distrustful of Thaksin and Pheu Thai, but for now is willing to appear accommodating due to the large margin of Pheu Thai’s electoral votes and strong popularity.

Ms Yingluck will have to work out a delicate balance in regaining a basis of trust for reconciliation while keeping the more hostile elements at bay.

Fourth and most important is that Ms Yingluck must be able to control the various political factions within her own party, satisfying the needs but keeping ambitions and egos in check. A rift or apparent breakup could end up destabilising the party. In the past, Newin Chidchob’s defection destroyed Pheu Thai’s predecessor the People Power Party, and history could repeat itself with other factions. The numbers game in Parliament could always change if Pheu Thai’s present 265 seats are pushed down below the simple majority of 250 seats.

Reuters also ran some analysis earlier this week:

Running a real estate business in the middle of a building boom is one thing. Running a country that’s embroiled in a bloody political crisis may be a little more challenging, as Thailand’s Yingluck Shinawatra is about to discover.

The honeymoon is over for the 44-year-old political novice, about to become Thailand’s first female prime minister. Millions of poor supporters expect great things from her, while the country at large wants an end to a political crisis dating back to a coup that toppled her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, in 2006.

It was thanks to Thaksin that Yingluck was catapulted from relative obscurity as president of SC Asset to stardom within days of her May 16 nomination to lead the campaign of the Puea Thai Party in the July 3 election.

But as she prepares to follow in Thaksin’s footsteps after a parliamentary vote on Friday, it is her brother’s perceived influence over the incoming government rather than her inexperience that could prove her downfall.

Stay tuned…

(All emphasis mine.)

(Image: Reuters.)

Update: 12:40 p.m.:

The Bangkok Post says it’s official. Almost:

Pheu Thai Party list MP Yingluck Shinawatra was elected Thailand’s 28th prime minister by a majority vote in the House of Representatives on Friday morning.

A total of 296 MPs voted in support of Ms Yingluck, the country’s first female prime minister, while three MPs voted against her, with 197 abstentions by the opposition, including the Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties.

Up next: endorsement from the king.

DPA says:

Thailand’s House of Representatives on Friday elected Yingluck Shinawatra to become the country’s first female prime minster, paving the way for a new government expected by next week.

Yingluck’s selection, by a 296 to 3 vote in the lower house, will become official as soon as it in endorsed by King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 83, who is head of state.

Thai Parliament: It’s all systems go

A follow up on my post yesterday about the Election Commission deadline: It’s all systems go, with Parliament set to open Monday.

The AP, via the WSJ, says:

Thailand’s Election Commission has certified enough winners of this month’s election for the new Parliament to convene Monday as scheduled.

Today’s Bangkok Post has more details:

The Election Commission yesterday cleared the way for the House of Representatives to convene after it endorsed a batch of 94 poll winners as MPs, while still refusing to lift its suspension of red-shirt core leader Jatuporn Prompan.

With the elections of 496 MPs affirmed, which exceeds the required number of 475, the House is on track to open for business within 30 days of the election as required by the constitution.

The first session is expected to be held on Monday.

Thailand: EC deadline for certifying candidates is Aug. 1

Reuters reports today that:

Thailand’s election authority was racing on Wednesday to endorse dozens of winning candidates from the July 3 general election to pave the way for a new parliament to convene and select a prime minister, tentatively expected in early August.

So far, 402 of the 500 winners have been approved by the Election Commission (EC), which is struggling with a deluge of complaints that it must process in the next few days.

If all goes as expected, Yingluck Shinawatra, a sister of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, will become Thailand’s first female prime minister after her Puea Thai Party won the election in a landslide.

By law, the EC needs to confirm 95 percent of the winners, or 475 of the 500 house seats, to give the lower house a quorum to hold a formal opening by Monday, August 1. The EC has indicated it could complete the process by Wednesday, July 27.

Stay tuned.

WSJ on Yingluck’s EC endorsement: more MPs needed for parliament to convene

The WSJ says today that:

Thailand’s official vote monitor confirmed this month’s election of Yingluck Shinawatra, but more approvals will be required before her party can assume power and she can take office as the nation’s first female prime minister.

The Election Commission…

…hasn’t yet confirmed some other parliamentarians, leaving legal obstacles that could mean Ms. Yingluck’s Puea Thai, or For Thais, party can’t yet assume power. To convene, parliament needs 475 of its 500 members. So far, 370 have been confirmed.

It isn’t unusual for weeks to pass after a Thai election before a new government is formed.

More on the EC delay

More on the Election Commission delay I mentioned yesterday: The New York Times notes:

Efforts to form a new government in Thailand are being snarled by a docket of legal challenges and what critics say are the slow workings of the country’s Election Commission.

The messy aftermath of the July 3 election, which was won by a party backed by the ousted prime minister and billionaire in exile Thaksin Shinawatra, has raised the possibility that the outcome might be reversed, angering supporters of Thailand’s many political factions and ushering in a return to street politics.

And later:

The Election Commission has nearly three weeks to certify the election, a time frame that Gothom Arya, a former election commissioner, said was feasible.

“I am an optimist,” Mr. Gothom said. “The rule of the game is that within 30 days, you have to announce the result. I think they will do it.”

Meanwhile, BP also has some analysis.

Yingluck and others yet to be endorsed by Thailand’s Election Commission

2011 07 13 nation yingluck

While it’s unclear whether the news constitutes a “bombshell,” as the Nation headline says, here are some details.

Today’s Bangkok Post tells us that:

Yingluck Shinawatra, Abhisit Vejjajiva and a number of red-shirt politicians were missing from the 358 MPs endorsed by the Election Commission yesterday.

They failed to receive confirmation of their election victories from the EC in its first batch of result endorsements, as investigations into complaints against them for allegedly breaching election law are pending.

Pheu Thai’s Ms Yingluck, who is expected to be the next prime minister, Mr Abhisit, the outgoing premier and former Democrat Party leader, and key red shirt leaders including Jatuporn Prompan and Natthawut Saikua are among 142 poll winners whose confirmations have been suspended pending investigation.

And:

Also among those not yet endorsed are the Democrat Party’s acting secretary general and deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban, the Democrats’ PM’s Office Minister Ong-art Klampaibul and former House speaker Chai Chidchob from the Bhumjaithai Party.

And finally, on the would-be “noodle-gate“:

Ms Yingluck, meanwhile, has been cleared by the EC of alleged vote-buying in connection with a highly publicised incident when she fried noodles and distributed portions to voters during a May 31 campaign stop in Nakhon Ratchasima province. However, the EC has not yet ruled on other allegations facing her, and so her poll win cannot yet be endorsed.

Meanwhile, the Nation says:

The Election Commission rattled would-be prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and the Pheu Thai Party last night after it delayed endorsement of her election win and those of 11 other party candidates.

The commission said the endorsement of Yingluck was delayed pending an inquiry into “several” legal matters regarding her party’s election campaign. Yingluck was portrayed by Pheu Thai as its prime ministerial candidate with a controversial slogan “Thaksin thinks, Pheu Thai acts”. She was also accused of violating vote-buying rules by cooking and distributing noodle dishes to constituents. Subsequently, the accusation was dropped by the EC.

The EC also held back endorsement of former Democrat leader and outgoing Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva over complaints of vote-buying.

However, the EC has never “suspended” top party-list candidates in the past.

And:

The EC traditionally does not immediately endorse those who have had complaints lodged against them. The EC will meet again on July 19 to reconsider those have not yet been endorsed. EC member Sodsri Sataya-thum said a subcommittee would look into legal matters concerning the cases of Yingluck and Abhisit and report to the EC in seven days.

Endorsed members of Parliament were advised to pick up documents for their House of Represen-tatives registration from tomorrow.

The EC will have 30 days to investigate the cases of the other 55 MPs-elect who were questioned, the source said. By August 1, at least 475 MPs must be endorsed so that the House can assemble and begin work.

(All emphasis mine.)

(Image: @lekasina on Lockerz.)