As one of Thailand's youngest elected leaders at 44, Abhisit is the kind the country needs at present, as he carries no political baggage and is pretty much a greenhorn.
What he needs the most is lots of imagination - the ability to think outside the box to lead and heal our much-bruised country. In short, for Abhibit, the sky is the limit.
The new government must restore confidence both inside and outside the country as soon as possible. Honesty, integrity and accountability must be the key principles in ruling the country. The Foreign Ministry and its missions abroad must do a better job in explaining the Thai situation regarding its key institutions, especially the monarchy, which has come under international focus. As a free and open society, Thailand has nothing to fear.
Three distinctive perspectives from an economist, philosopher and diplomat were culled from a rare panel discussion on Friday at the Institute of Security and International Studies of Chulalongkorn University, on the challenges and prospects of the Democrat-led government.
As a realist, Professor Pasuk Phongphaijit was sanguine about the limits to the positive image of Abhisit. The well-known economist believes that the new government's wielding of power would be limited due to the nature of the coalition partners and the circumstances under which it was born. The new prime minister must uphold the rule of law and keep corruption, in her words, at a tolerable level. Otherwise, this government would not survive.
The economic outlook next year is not good, which could lead to a contraction if the new government fails to halt growing unemployment, declining exports and falling consumption, she said.
Urgently required were efforts to alleviate poverty in rural areas and supplementary budgets to improve the standard of living.
Instead of slashing taxes now, ways must be found to increase consumption to increase tax revenue, she said.
Pasuk had one strong caveat for the Democrat-led government. Abhisit must perform and rein in the government and major coalition partners, which are known for corruption scandals. The government also must expand its base of support beyond the Metropolis and South to upcountry, especially in the North and Northeast. To do so, Abhisit critically needs to develop his own political identity that is appealing to and reverberates with the rural and urban poor - die-hard supporters of deposed premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
While she appreciates Abhisit's youth, resourcefulness and innovative thinking, she was still unsure if he could build "brand loyalty" for the Democrats, which has been quite popular in the South.
At the other end of the pendulum, Assoc Professor Chaiwat Satha-Anand of Thammasat University made it clear that if the new prime minister has the power of imagination, he could turn the country around - from one that was inflicted by continued violence in the past four years, which killed more than 3,200 civilians, to a peaceful one.
As an idealist, Chaiwat approaches the Democrat-led government quite differently especially regarding the unrest in the South. He wants to give the young man a chance to prove his leadership. He was hopeful that Abhisit could imagine measures in moral ways to end the current political impasse and heal society as never before.
The peace campaigner has long been fighting against rising Thai and religious nationalism and the proliferation of violence and small firearms in the South and the rest of the country. The polarised political discourses in society have not contributed at all to better understanding of various conflicting groups, he said.
As a result, Thailand was now ranked in the top 20 in the latest Global Peace Index, just one notch above the situation in the Congo.
In between these two perspectives comes Kasit Piromya's strong but pragmatic responses. As a former diplomat, the newly appointed foreign minister knows exactly what Thailand needs to do to move ahead and reclaim respect and credibility from the region and the rest of the world. Thailand must maintain an open and democratic society with due respect for human rights and international norms and values including governance.
After retiring from the foreign service three years ago, Kasit has been campaigning for better government and corporate governance. He also joined the Democrat Party. Since the ISIS seminar was his first public appearance after he was chosen as the new foreign minister, but before he had received royal endorsement, he did not explore the new foreign policy directions that the Democrat-led government has mapped out. Instead, he had to answer questions regarding his appearances and discourses at the rallies organised by the People's Alliance of Democracy. He defended his support for the PAD as part of the democratisation process and burgeoning role of civil society organisations.
He came out as a straight-talking pragmatist with firm conviction for human rights and democracy.
He was firm in defending the royal institution and the role it has been playing in Thailand. Answering questions on the widespread comments in the foreign press on the monarchy in recent months, he said the Foreign Ministry and authorities must work harder to explain the merits of monarchy in Thai society. He also cited His Majesty the King's words that even the King could err.
It was clear that there would be much-needed shifts in foreign policy - including transnational issues related to human rights, democracy and terrorism - regarding relations with neighbouring countries, such as Burma and Cambodia, and international organisations.
Taking these perspectives together, it is clear that Thailand is indeed embarking on new and yet familiar terrain. Only a pragmatic and visionary leader with a holistic and firm approach can rescue our country from the current abyss.