Thai PM to offer junta leader cabinet position


11:11, September 25, 2007

Thailand’s Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont has said in New York that he would offer a position in the cabinet to Chairman of the National Council (CNS) Sonthi Boonyaratkalin after the latter retires as army chief by the end of this month, Thai media reported Tuesday.

“The chief of the CNS (Sonthi) would have nothing to do when he retires from the army top job. I will ask him if he is interested in joining the portfolio for security matter,” the premier was quoted by news network The Nation as telling reporters Monday in New York (Tuesday by Thai local time) , where he is attending to United Nations General Assembly.

Sonthi, who will quit the powerful post of Army Commander-in- Chief at the mandatory retirement age of 60 by the end of September,was widely tipped to take the position of Deputy Prime Minister in charge of security affairs.

A reshuffle at the Surayud-led cabinet is expected to take place soon as two ministers announced their will to resign facing strong criticism over a share-holding controversy.

Information Technology and Communication Minister Sithichai Pokaiyaudom and Deputy Commerce Minister Oranuj Osatananda both said they would quit their job after the National Counter- Corruption Commisstion (NCCC) on Thursday named the two, along with Interior Minister Aree Wongsearaya as violating the 2000 anti- graft laws by holding more than five-percent shares in companies.
Aree has said he would not resign.

“Legally, they can stay on but many people have different feeling on the issue,” Surayud was quoted as saying, “But I feel uncomfortable with the situation.”
The NCCC said that, with the abolition of 1997 Constitution after the Sonthi-led military coup that ousted the elected government of Thaksin Shinawatra, and a clause in the newly- installed 2007 Constitution to exempt the interim government from related rules,

The Prime Minister said he would make a minor change in the cabinet only for the ministries deemed necessary when he returned the trip in New York at the end of this month.

He would ask Minister of Commerce Krirkrai Jeerapath if he needs a deputy to replace Oranuj, but they will have to find someone to fill in the top post at the Information Technology and Communication Ministry as it has no deputy minister, said Surayud.

Surayud admitted he faced difficulty to reshuffle the cabinet since his government was about to leave the office in the next few months as a general election set on Dec. 23 is expected to turn out a new government.

Source: Xinhua

People’s Daily Online – Thai PM to offer junta leader cabinet position



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