News / Asia

Thai Ruler Gives Top Cabinet Posts to Junta Inner Circle

FILE - Thai new Prime Minister Prayuth Chan–ocha arrives to attend an establishment anniversary of the 21st Infantry Regiment, Queen's Guard in Chonburi Province ,Thailand, Aug. 21, 2014.
FILE - Thai new Prime Minister Prayuth Chan–ocha arrives to attend an establishment anniversary of the 21st Infantry Regiment, Queen's Guard in Chonburi Province ,Thailand, Aug. 21, 2014.
Reuters

Military ruler General Prayuth Chan-ocha has named an interim cabinet dominated by members of the security forces to govern Thailand through at least a year of political reforms before he permits an election.

Prayuth was widely expected to hand the top portfolios to the military as he chooses a government from the small circle that formed the junta that has ruled since a coup on May 22.

Thailand's army chief has kept an iron grip on power as he extends the government, hand-picking an interim parliament that subsequently nominated him prime minister. The parliament, like the cabinet, is dominated by members of the military.

The Thai king gave royal approval to the interim cabinet on Sunday. The cabinet will have an audience with the monarch in coming days, the last formality before it can begin governing.

The portfolios of transport, defense, commerce and interior ministries will go to members of the armed forces. Economics and finance go to civilians.

The interior and defense ministers are two army generals that a Reuters report last year showed secretly backed the protests that undermined the government of Yingluck Shinawatra and paved the way for the coup.

The interior ministry goes to General Anupong Paochinda, who was army chief from 2007 to 2010. General Prawit Wongsuwan returns to the defense ministry, and will also be the deputy prime minister.

The two are towering figures in Thailand's military establishment, have close ties to Prayuth and are staunch monarchists who played a role in the previous coup in Thailand in 2006. That coup ousted Yingluck's brother, Thaksin Shinawatra.

Prayuth, Anupong and Prawit are the military brass leading a royalist establishment that includes Bankgok's elite bureaucrats and big business and that aims to expunge the pervasive influence of populist former premier Thaksin Shinawatra from Thai politics.

Thaksin and his allies have won every election held in Thailand since 2001 with their rural and working class backing. The victories have eroded the power base of the royalist establishment.

Don't worry too much

Before the cabinet list was made public, Prayuth said on Friday in his weekly televised address that Thais need not be concerned about the number of military men in his cabinet. They would all be held accountable, he said.

“I need to have some people that I can trust to work with in this tough situation,” he said. “If they perform poorly, I could reshuffle the cabinet anyway. So, don't worry too much.”

Some of the civilians in the cabinet were also members of the transition team after the previous coup in 2006.

Pridiyathorn Devakula, a 67-year-old economist, was appointed as deputy prime minister to oversee the economy. Pridiyathon is a former governor of the Bank of Thailand (BOT) and bungled the introduction of capital controls as a finance minister after the 2006 coup. The measures were swiftly reversed after causing the stock market to tank.

Sommai Phasee was appointed finance minister. He was the deputy at finance in the interim government after the 2006 coup.

Air Chief Marshall Prachin Chantong, who has overseen economic affairs for the junta, becomes transport minister and will oversee development of some of the big-ticket infrastructure projects that Prayuth hopes will help strengthen Thailand's faltering economy.

Prachin's junta deputy, General Chatchai Sirikalya, will become commerce minister.       

 

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Resolve Nuclear Deal Issues

Leaders find resolution on issues of liability of suppliers to India in event of nuclear accident, US demands to track whereabouts of material supplied to country More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid