Thailand Update | Thailand's Leadership, October 26, 2012

LOOKING AHEAD:

+ For more information on the Council’s Thailand program, please contact Carr Slayton at cslayton@usasean.org and Wanlapa "Fon" Komkai at fwanlapa@usasean.org
 
YINGLUCK III MINISTERIAL CABINET:

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra confirmed on Wednesday, October 25 that she was seeking royal endorsement for a new cabinet reshuffle. It is anticipated that the reshuffle would affect 23 cabinet seats and involve 14 new faces.

Pending endorsement by His Majesty the King, local media are speculating that the new line-up will be as follows: 

1.    Plodprasop Suraswadi, Deputy Prime Minister
2.    Phongthep Thepkanchana, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education
3.    Pongsak Raktapongpaisal, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy
4.    Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
5.    Yukol Limlaemthong, Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives
6.    Yutthapong Charassathien, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives
7.    Siriwat Kachornprasart, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives
8.    Nattawut Saikuar, Deputy Minister of Commerce 
9.    Sonthaya Khunploem, Minister of Culture
10. Sermsak Pongpanit, Deputy Minister of Education
11. Prasert Boonchaisuk, Minister of Industry
12. Jarupong Ruangsuwan, Minister of Interior 
13. Pracha Prasobdee, Deputy Minister of Interior
14. Pol Lt Gen Chatt Kuldiloke, Deputy Minister of Interior
15. Varathep Rattanakorn, Minister attached to the Prime Minister’s Office
16. Sansanee Nakpong, Minister attached to the Prime Minister’s Office
17. Pradit Sinthawanarong, Minister of Public Health
18. Cholanan Srikaeo, Deputy Minister of Public Health 
19. Worwat Ua-apinyakul, Minister of Science and Technology
20. Chadchart Sitthipan, Minister of Transport 
21. General Prin Suwanatat, Deputy Minister of Transport
22. Prasert Chantararuangthong, Deputy Minister of Transport

The Council will continue to monitor closely. The official list will be sent again when confirmed.


PRESS COVERAGE PM seeks sweeping reshuffle | Bangkok Post, Oct. 26

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra confirmed yesterday she was seeking royal endorsement for a sweeping cabinet reshuffle a move seen as a bid to cushion the impact of the censure debate by the opposition at the end of the month.

A government source said the reshuffle would affect 23 cabinet seats and involve 14 new faces, including prominent politicians who are members of the so-called House No.111 the former executives of the dissolved Thai Rak Thai Party. They include legal expert Pongthep Thepkanchana, who is expected to be appointed as first deputy prime minister to oversee legal affairs and to double as education minister. Pongsak Raktapongpaisal is tipped for the post of energy minister while Varathep Rattanakorn is expected to become PM's office minister. All of them are close aides of deposed premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

Censure debate, internal rivalries shape new Cabinet | The Nation, Oct. 26

Three pressure points prodded Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra into prepping her third Cabinet squad.
First, the Democrat Party is bearing down on her government and she needs it to outshine the opposition.In the same week that the main opposition party plans to file a no-confidence motion, the government chose to upstage the censure debate by making a progressive move to refresh the Cabinet.

Many see Yingluck as astute in deciding to draw public attention away from flaws that the Democrats aim to attack, giving people some hope that the government remains on top of the situation. If the Cabinet reshuffle waited until after the grilling, Yingluck would face an uphill battle in dispelling the impression that the opposition has gained the upper hand in pushing for change.

PM confirms reshuffle | The Nation, Oct. 25

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra conceded on Thursday she had already submitted the Cabinet reshuffle list for royal endorsement but denied any involvement by her brother Thaksin.

Yingluck said she decided to change the Cabinet lineup after the resignations of her former deputy Yongyuth Wichaidit and agriculture minister Theera Wongsamut, who had said for a long time he wanted to quit. Moreover, coalition parties also wanted a Cabinet reshuffle. The premier said she did not change the Cabinet lineup to escape scrutiny by the opposition.  "If you look closely, the main ministries remain the same and all are doing their jobs. The government’s duty is administration, the opposition will be scrutinising us in Parliament, so we can’t escape anyway," she said.

Yingluck has considerable say in reshuffle | The Nation, Oct. 25

If the names mentioned in the Cabinet reshuffle speculations prior to the official announcement are any indications, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra seemed to have a considerable say in the make-up of her new Cabinet.

But it is another matter whether the new line-up would benefit the country or not. First of all, the speculated line-up served to confirm the saying that Cabinet seats under the Pheu Thai Party's quota are for its core members to take turn to hold. It appeared that the reshuffles were not aimed at increasing the Cabinet's performance at all. Among new faces in the Yingluck 3 Cabinet will be core members of the Thai Rai Thai or the so-called members of House Address 111, who have just exited their five-year political ban.