“The Rise & Fall” of Thailand’s Dictator hired professionals! Somkid & Pridiyathorn

Thailand’s Matichon newspaper reports (Source), that with Thailand’s Dictator, Prayuth, wanting to hear out-side opinion (from his various advisers) and have these out-side people do work analysis, Somkid Jatusripitak, has rose in ranks. Matichon Weekly, has a font cover page on Somkid, with the wording, “Karma Bright in the Sky.” There have been speculation that with Somkid rise, this has meant a fall of Pridiyathorn Devakula, from Thailand’s Dictator, inner circle. Pridiyathorn  is a Thai economist.

Somkid, former Thaksinomics thinker,  is pro-stimulus, while Pridiyathorn is an anti-debt, pro conservative balance sheet hawk.

Pridiyathorn was the Governor of the Bank of Thailand from 2001 to 2006. Following the 2006 Thai coup d’état he served as Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister in the interim civilian government led by Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont.[1] Following the 2014 Thai coup d’état he was appointed as a Deputy Prime Minister in the first military appointed cabinet[2] under General Prayuth Chan-ocha.

From the Wikipedia:

Somkid Jatusripitak (Thai: สมคิด จาตุศรีพิทักษ์, RTGS: Somkhit Chatusiphithak, born 15 July 1953) is a Thai economist, business theorist, and politician.

A mentee of Philip Kotler, he has (co-)authored books on competitiveness and taught marketing at Thai universities. He was a co-founder and leader of the Thai Rak Thai Party (TRT) and was mainly responsible for developing the party’s progressive and reformist economic and social platform. After the party’s electoral victory, he served as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, and Minister of Commerce in Thaksin Shinawatra‘s government. Following the coup d’état in 2006, the junta chose him as an economic envoy, advocating the royally-endorsed “self-sufficiency” economic agenda.

After another military coup in 2014, he served as the junta’s advisor on foreign economic relations. Since September 2014 he has been a full member of the so-called National Council for Peace and Order.

 Founding of the Thai Rak Thai Party

Somkid was one of the co-founders of the Thai Rak Thai party in 1998, along with party leader Thaksin Shinawatra. His senior stature in the party was apparent from his no. 3 position in the TRT’s 2001 election party list, behind Thaksin Shinawatra and Purachai Piemsomboon.

Somkid has been called “the man behind Thaksinomics“,[9] and was the mastermind of the populist policies that helped propel the Thai Rak Thai party to a landslide election victory in 2001. The TRT “won by embracing populism on a grand scale,” said the Far Eastern Economic Review. Somkid’s chief policy innovations included the universal healthcare program, 1 million THB development funds for each of Thailand’s 70,000 villages, a 3-year loan freeze for farmers, fast-track privatization of state enterprises, and a national asset management corporation (AMC) to buy up the $20 billion in bad debt carried by Thai banks.[10][11]

Somkid also pioneered the TRT party’s rural small and medium enterprise (SME) policy. Noting that agriculture remains the most important economic sector, employing 60-70% of the Thai population, the economic challenge was to develop the agricultural sector and link it with the modern sector.[7] This became one of the founding principles of the Thaksin government’s popular One Tambon One Product (OTOP) program.

Aftermath of the 2006 coup

 The Thai military staged a successful coup against the Thaksin government on 19 September 2006. At the time, Somkid was in Paris, attending the Thai-France Cultural Exhibition with Princess Sirindhorn and Foreign Minister Kantathi Supamongkhon. On 21 September 2006 arrived back to Bangkok.[19] Unlike several other senior members of Thaksin’s Cabinet, he was not arrested by the junta. Somkid kept a low profile, until on 2 October 2006 he resigned from the Thai Rak Thai Party, along with Thaksin Shinawatra.[20][21]

He continued to lead a low profile, until in February 2007, he was appointed head of a government committee charged with “preaching” King Bhumibol‘s self-sufficient economypolicy. The appointment provoked great controversy, as critics claimed that the populist economics czar had no role promoting self-sufficiency.[22][23] Somkid appointment was supported by General Saprang Kalyanamitr, a powerful member of the junta, and Sondhi Limthongkul of the People’s Alliance for Democracy, a long-time colleague of Somkid’s. Somkid later decided to resign from the committee, which was then dissolved. Somkid’s long-time rival, Finance Minister Pridiyathorn Devakula volunteered to help perform the committee’s role, and denied any role in Somkid’s resignation.[24]

In early May 2007, a group of former elected senators said they were ready to support Somkid in forming a new political party, the so-called Dharma Thippatai group. Among those included Suraporn Danaitangtrakoon, Anek Laothamatas (former leader of the Mahachon Party), and former Thai Rak Thai members Suranand Vejjajiva and Pimol Srivikorn.[25] On 26 June 2007, they founded Ruam Jai Thai. However, on 30 May 2007 the Constitutional Tribunal had produced a verdict, barring all 111 former executive members of Thai Rak Thai Party, including Somkid, from holding political office for five years.[26]

In 2012, Somkid founded the Thailand Future Study Institute, a think tank which is sponsored by major Thai business corporations and seeks to provide research and consulting to public bodies and private sector.[26]

Advisor and member of the 2014 junta

 After the 22 May 2014 coup d’état, the junta—which calls itself National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)—appointed Somkid member of its “advisory board” in charge of foreign economic relations, especially with Asian countries China and Japan.[27][28] On 16 September Somkid—as one of two civilians— was appointed as a member of the NCPO.[29]

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