Thailand’s new prime minister vowed to bring four years of change to the kingdom as he took office Wednesday at the head of a controversial coalition including pro-military parties linked to former coup-makers. The appointment of former property mogul Srettha Thavisin — of the Pheu Thai party long associated with billionaire ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra — ends months of political deadlock following May’s general election. The 61-year-old was confirmed by parliamentary vote on Tuesday, just hours after Thaksin returned to the kingdom from 15 years of exile and was immediately jailed on old graft charges. Srettha received King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s official written command to form a government in a ceremony at Pheu Thai headquarters at 6:00 pm (1100 GMT). “The good of the country is my highest priority. I am confident the next four years will be years of change,” Srettha said after accepting the royal endorsement, pledging to work “tirelessly”. “The government under Pheu Thai will work hard to… create happiness for all people equally and make Thailand a land of hope for the young generation.” Outgoing prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha — a former army chief who overthrew the last Pheu Thai government in a coup — congratulated Srettha and wished him luck. Prayut suffered a heavy defeat in May’s polls as the upstart progressive Move Forward Party (MFP) rode a wave of youth and urban discontent with nearly a decade of military-backed rule to win the most seats.