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Paetongtarn Shinawatra Rises: Pheu Thai’s New Era Amid Thailand’s Political Ballet

On a riveting October morning, the Pheu Thai Party’s head office bubbled with palpable excitement as Paetongtarn Shinawatra ascended to the helm, crowned the fresh face of leadership at their general assembly. The political theatre, buzzing with anticipation, had journalists’ pens poised and cameras flashing. The striking date: October 27, 2023. (Photo credit: the indefatigable Somchai Poomlard)

Flicking away the constant hum of reshuffle rumours like pesky flies, Deputy Prime Minister Phumtham Wechayachai delivered a Tuesday soliloquy that could’ve doused the most fervent of speculative flames. “Cabinet reshuffle? What cabinet reshuffle?” his tone seemed to imply.

The theatricality continued as Mr. Phumtham treated the media’s reshuffle chatter with the aplomb of a seasoned actor on stage, suggesting that such gossip was old hat, vintage speculation, really. A previous show, perhaps-surely not reflective of the current season’s plot. With the evasiveness of a cat, he asserted that the coalition was performing a most spectacular ballet of governance, without any immediate encore.

“You, dear media, you craft the narratives, don’t you?” Phumtham parried when probed about the enduring whispers of a cabinet berth for Ms. Paetongtarn. “Yet here we are, talking about a debut that’s nowhere on the bill!” Candles on the cake haven’t even melted, and already you dream of next year’s flavour!”

The Pheu Thai ringleader spun yarns of a triptych of political theatre: the party, the house, the government. Each a meticulous act with its cast iron plan; rehearsed, perfected. To pull Ms. Paetongtarn into the pantomime of cabinet roles? Preposterous! “She’s only just taken the director’s chair,” he proclaimed with an imperceptible bow.

In a tantalising sidebar, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin painted a portrait of a government as choreographed as Swan Lake. “Watch this space,” he seemed to twinkle, citing ambitious policy pirouettes, from elevating the land beneath farmer’s feet to the stratospheric battles against drugs and debt.

As the show teetered on the edge of intermission, valiant hero Anutin Charnvirakul, of the Bhumjaithai Party and Deputy Prime Minister fame, leapt into the spotlight, dismissing any dalliance with Pheu Thai’s script. And yet, with a dip of his proverbial hat, he hinted, “Why can’t the star of the production aspire to greater heights?”

Meanwhile, the ever-suave Chartthaipattana Party lead, Varawut Silpa-archa—also guardian of social development and human securities—tipped his hat to Ms. Paetongtarn’s stage prowess. A cabinet post? “Well, why ever not?” he sang, casting a sidelong glance at the grandiose ensemble of government parties, a cue for unity before the final act.

So the political ballet twirls on, with audiences on the edge of their seats, whispering in hushed tones, “Will she? Won’t she?” The plot thickens, characters intertwine, and the spotlight dances ever so gently over the captivating narrative of Paetongtarn Shinawatra’s blossoming chapter.

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