Now that Deputy PM and Interior Minister Yongyuth Vichaidit has quit, who's going to be Premier Yingluck's driver's seat?
She said in New York before flying back to Bangkok this morning that she hadn't thought about a Cabinet reshuffle to put someone in Yongyuth's place yet. Yongyuth himself said he hadn't been instructed by the PM to step down. Both statements must of course be taken with a grain of salt.
The fact remains that Yongyuth had come under pressure from several factions within the ruling Pheu Thai Party who are afraid that Yongyuth's continued presence in the government could jeopardize their position. The possibility of the party being disbanded because of Yongyuth's precarious position vis-a-vis the anti-corruption agency's accusation was weighing heavily on their concern.
Yongyuth has been a very close aide to the PM. He has served as a political buffer for her all along. Now, with his departure, a way is wide open for a large-scale Cabinet reshuffle which has in fact been postponed from a few months ago. All of a sudden, the old names have re-emerged to fill some important Cabinet posts. It won't be easy for the PM who has to juggle between nominees from all the various factions, especially those "strongly suggested" by her brother Thaksin Shinawatra.
PM Yingluck is set to undergo another leadership test once more.