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

10 Migrants Drown, While 4,100 Rescued off Libyan Coast

All of those rescued are being ferried to Italian ports, with some arriving on Italy's southernmost island, Lampedusa, and others taken to Sicily and Calabria More

HRW: Saudi-led Airstrikes Use Banned Cluster Bombs

Human Rights Watch says photographs, video and other evidence have emerged indicating cluster munitions have been used in 'recent weeks' in airstrikes in Houthi stronghold in northern Yemen More

Hopes Fade of Finding Survivors of Nepal Earthquake

US military aircraft, heavy equipment and air traffic controllers arrive in Nepal to help manage growing piles of relief supplies clogging Kathmandu airport More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil Wari
X
Henry Ridgwell
May 03, 2015 1:12 AM
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil War

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video Rural Nepal Suffers Brunt of Quake’s Devastation

Nepal is still coming to grips with the full extent of the devastation and misery caused by last Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Some of the hardest-hit communities have been cut off by landslides making it difficult to assess the precise toll. A VOA News crew has been among the first to reach a few of the smaller, remote communities. Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Sindhupolchak district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered greatly in Nepal’s worst quake in more than 80 years.
Video

Video Black Families Use Baltimore Case to Revisit 'Police Talk'

Following Freddie Gray’s death in police custody this month, VOA interviewed black families throughout the eastern U.S. city of Baltimore about how they discuss the case. Over and over, parents pointed to a crucial talk they say every black mother or father has with their children. Victoria Macchi has more on how this conversation is passed down through generations.
Video

Video Middle East Atheist Channel Defies Taboo

In Egypt, a deeply religious country in a deeply religious region, atheism is not only taboo, it is dangerous. It is sometimes even criminal to publicly declare nonbelief. Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online channel that defends the right not to believe. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Nepal Quake Survivors Tell Their Stories

Against all hope, rescuers have found a few more survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal last Saturday. Mountain climbers and hikers trapped in remote places also have been airlifted to safety, and aid is finally reaching people in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter. Survivors and rescuers are now recounting their experience. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Lessons for Germany, Europe Remain on Anniversary of WWII's End

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked May 8-9 in all European countries except Germany, which lost the war. How is the war viewed there, and what impact is it still having? From Berlin, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video 'Woman in Gold' Uses Artwork as Symbol of Cultural Identity

Simon Curtis’ legal drama, "Woman in Gold," is based on the true story of an American Jewish refugee from Austria who fights to reclaim a famous Gustav Klimt painting stolen from her family by the Nazis during World War II. It's a haunting film that speaks to the hearts of millions who have sought to reclaim their past, stripped from them 70 years ago. VOA's Penelope Poulou reports.
Video

Video Nepal Town Destroyed By Quake Counts Itself Lucky

Foreign search teams on Wednesday began reaching some of the communities outside Kathmandu that suffered worse damage than Nepal’s capital from last Saturday’s massive earthquake. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is in Sankhu - a town of about 10,000 people - where there is relief the death toll is not higher despite widespread destruction.
Video

Video First Surgical Glue Approved for Use Inside Body

While medical adhesives are becoming more common, none had been approved for use inside the body until now. Earlier this year, the first ever biodegradable surgical glue won that approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on the innovation and its journey from academia to market.
Video

Video Somali Hotel Chain Owner Strives to Make a Difference

Many in the Somali diaspora are returning home to make a new life despite the continuing risks. Since 2011 when a military campaign against Al-Shabab militants began making progress, members of the diaspora community have come back to open hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Abdulaziz Billow in Mogadishu profiles the owner of a chain of hotels and restaurants who is helping to bring change to the once-deadly Somali capital.
Video

Video Study: One in Six Species Threatened with Extinction

Climate change is transforming the planet. Unless steps are taken to reduce global warming, scientists predict rising seas, stronger and more frequent storms, drought, fire and floods. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, a new study on species extinction underscores the need to take action to avoid the most catastrophic effects of rising temperatures.
Video

Video Taviani Brothers' 'Wondrous Boccaccio' Offers Tales of Love, Humor

The Italian duo of Paolo and Vittorio Taviani have been making movies for half a century: "The Night of the Shooting Stars," "Padre Padrone," "Good Morning, Babylon." Now in their 80s, the brothers have turned to one of the treasures of Italian culture for their latest film. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver reports.
Video

Video Child Migrants Cross Mediterranean Alone, Face Unknown Future

Among the thousands of migrants making the deadly journey by boat to Europe, there are unaccompanied girls and boys. Some have been sent by relatives to earn money; others are orphaned or fleeing war. From a shelter for young migrants in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Baltimore Riots Shed Light on City’s Troubled Past

National Guard troops took up positions Tuesday in Baltimore, Maryland, as authorities tried to restore order after rioting broke out a day earlier. It followed Monday's funeral of a 25-year-old black man who died while in police custody earlier this month. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Challenges Await Aid Organizations on the Ground in Nepal

A major earthquake rocked Nepal on Saturday and killed thousands, injured thousands more and sent countless Nepalese outside to live in makeshift tent villages. The challenges to Nepal are enormous, with some reconstruction estimates at around $5 billion. Aid workers from around the world face challenges getting into Nepal, which likely makes for a difficult recovery. Arash Arabasadi has the story from Washington.

Poll: Baltimore Police Charged

Poll archive

VOA Blogs