When Thailand’s finance minister abruptly resigned after less than a month on the job, he might as well have said it was to “spend time with his family,” because few today were buying that it was for his health.
Yesterday’s resignation of Predee Daochai 27 days after he was appointed has sparked rampant speculation, with some seeing political intrigue among the fractious ruling coalition and others a big vote of no confidence in the national purse. Predee himself cited unspecified health issues.
Thaikorn Polsuwan, a former maverick politician turned government antagonist, suggested that Predee lost a Finance Ministry power struggle to his deputy, Santi Promphat, who is considered a heavyweight in the ruling Palang Pracharath Party.
“Side note: Got in a boxing match with Santi, [Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan]’s protege and said goodbye, showing the white flag after two punches,” Thaikorn wrote.
Santi today denied there was any strife between the two, telling reporters that they worked together just fine. He denied rumors that his new boss resigned because they were at odds over filling top ministry positions.
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan today, who now leads the military-backed ruling party, denied that knives were out in the ministry and said it’s up to the Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha to appoint another minister to head it.
The consensus of the public, which has been anxiously watching prosperity dry up like the Mekong River, is that Predee, who had been a president at Kasikornbank before taking the oath of office, quit after getting one look at the ugly truth of the government’s finances.
“The resignation of the finance minister is a signal that the country is going bankrupt and beyond rescue,” @Skylightflyhigh tweeted. “A person who just gets the position doesn’t want to be a scapegoat and doesn’t know how to administer the money when there is no money to administrate. Everything is fucked up.”
@PGomutbutra cited anecdotal evidence he believes signal doom for Thailand:
“Signals in the last 3 days: 1. Foreign countries dumped almost THB10 billion worth of Thai stocks, 2. #PredeeDaochai resigned in less than a month. What could possibly make a guy with that kind of background rush out?”
He added that the decision to delay the acquisition of two submarines was also suspicious.
This article, Knife fight? Hopeless economy? Opinions vary on Finance Min’s surprise resignation, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!