Pheu Thai Party’s proposed Cabinet line-up has undergone a last-minute change, which sees former trade representative and seasoned politician Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara tipped as foreign minister in the Srettha government, according to party sources.
The sources say that Parnpree will double as deputy prime minister in charge of economic affairs.
Parnpree, an advisor on economic affairs for Pheu Thai, had been a favourite for the foreign affairs portfolio from the beginning, until the name of Chiang Mai MP Julapun Amornvivat was suggested. The sources say, however, that the party finally chose Parnpree as a result of last-minute horse-trading.
A former deputy leader of Pheu Thai, Parnpree, 66, served as Thailand’s trade representative under the Thaksin government. As assistant to the commerce minister, he was put in charge of free trade negotiations with the seven countries in the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sector Technical and Economic Cooperation framework, better known as BIMST-EC.
Parnpree also served as an advisor on economic and foreign affairs for the Chavalit administration and chairman of the board of directors of the Petroleum Authority of Thailand.
A law graduate from Chulalongkorn University, Parnpree studied public administration at the University of Southern California and earned his Ph.D. in government and public administration at Claremont Graduate University.
In a commentary, posted on Facebook, Parnpree said geopolitics have become a major challenge to international relations, as much as economic issues.
“We need to have a good understanding, on the part of both the government and the people, of what is happening in the world, in order to identify opportunities for our future and survive all the crises,” he added.