New Faces in Thai Government?
PM DENIES RUMOURS THAT HE WOULD HEAD DEFENCE MINISTRY; STAYS MUM ON NEW FACES
PRIME MINISTER General Prayut Chan-o-cha has decided on his reshuffle of ministers and confirmed yesterday that he would not take the Defence portfolio in the new Cabinet.
He said the list is in the process of seeking royal endorsement and was expected to be settled by next month.
Prayut said his military senior classmates Deputy PM and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan and Interior Minister General Anupong Paochinda, and his close friend Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister General Chatchai Sarikulya, would remain in the Cabinet.
Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda will continue as national police chief.
“Please end all this Cabinet [speculation] today,” Prayut said yesterday.
“I’ve finished the list but there is still paperwork to do. It is now in the process of seeking royal endorsement and it could be [completed] by December. Is that okay? Please calm down.”
“I’ve done my best. And I did it alone as it’s my authority,” he said.
Prayut yesterday clarified on some of the changes after revealing earlier this month that the three-year-old government would |go through its fourth Cabinet reshuffle.
The premier had also said that he might reduce the number of military generals in the Cabinet and replace them with civilians.
Speculation about the prime positions in the Cabinet rose after Labour Minister General Sirichai Distakul resigned following internal conflicts involving other ministries and Prayut’s close senior aide, General Prawit.General Prawit Wongsuwan
Local media have reported that Prawit might lose his defence post due to his frail health.
Prayut reiterated yesterday that he would not head any other ministry.
“I’m overseeing all ministries. It is the PM’s policy to oversee their vision and performance,” Prayut said.
Although Prayut said Chatchai would remain in the Cabinet, he kept mum on which department he would be moved to.
The premier also brushed aside speculation that some politicians might return in this reshuffle and declined to reveal the number of new faces in the list.
Among speculated candidates is Yukol Limlamthong, a former agricultural and cooperatives minister in the Yingluck Shinawatra government. Yukol is considered top-notch but also has close ties with the Chart Thai Pattana Party.
General Chaichan Changmongkol
NLA member resigns
Meanwhile, former Defence permanent secretary General Chaichan Changmongkol yesterday submitted his resignation from the National Legislative Assembly amid speculation that he might be appointed to a post in the new Cabinet.
A military source close to Prawit brushed aside the possibility that Prayut would take over the Defence Ministry.
Prawit is not only “like a brother” to Prayut, they reasoned, but also capable of controlling the military.
The source said it was a common practice among several former PMs such as Yingluck Shinawatra, Samak Sundaravej and Chuan Leekpai, to head the Defence Ministry.
“Considering Prawit’s capability to take care of the military during the past three years, everyone should be able to see the answer already,” the source said