Grumpy, green, yellow, old and male...and unelected
1 September 2014
Grumpy, unelected. old men. It is hard to find a better
description of Thailand's junta appointed cabinet.
The new cabinet is dominated by the military junta who have
13 Ministers including the PM and control over most of the key positions
ranging from PM, Defence, Education, Transport, Interior, Justice, Foreign
Affairs and Commerce (only key ones they don’t have are Public Health,
Finance, and Agriculture). Essentially, Prayuth and his clique dominate.
Prayuth’s former superior General Prawit Wongsuwan is deputy PM and
Defence Minister, while another of his ex-superiors, General Anupong
Paochinda, is Interior Minister.
Four of the premier’s former classmates have portfolios. General Dapong
Ratanasuwan was appointed Natural Resources and Environment Minister,
General Tanasak Patimapragorn is deputy PM and Foreign Minister, Gen
Chatchai Sarikalya was named Commerce Minister, and permanent secretary
for defence General Surasak Kanjanarat is the Labour Minister.
Prayuth’s ‘junior’ friends from pre-cadet school days, Navy chief ADM
Narong Pipatanasai and Air Force chief ACM Prajin Juntong, were appointed
Education Minister and Transport Minister respectively.
The Navy Chief as Education Minister will oversee a
curriculum that goes back to traditional Thai values - ie know your place;
rather than develops critical talents for a globalised world.
The premier’s subordinates from the armed forces who will help him
administer the country include deputy Army chief General Udomdej Sitabutr,
the Deputy Defence Minister, and assistant Army chief General Paiboon
Koomchaya, the Justice Minister.
Other posts are taken up by former bureaucrats mostly with
strong yellow shirt credentials"
Don Pramudwinai (Deputy Foreign Minister) He was a career civil servant
with the Foreign Ministry. His final posting was as Thai Ambassador to the
UN. An experience diplomat but still number two to General Tanasak
Patimapragorn; appointing a general as the Foreign Minister is hardly
going to help the junta's credibility with the international community
though no dount Burma and China will approve.
Sommai Phasee (Finance Minister) Was Deputy Finance Minister in the amt
appointed post 2006 coup Surayud government.
In each of the Education, Interior, Foreign Affairs, Transport and
Commerce ministries the junta controls the main minister position, but a
current/former civil servant is the deputy.
Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul is Tourism and Sports Minister and was previously.
She was Chairperson of Toshiba Thailand. Strange appointment as she
appears to have no relevant experience.
Wissanu Krea-Ngam is Deputy Prime Minister and was a NLA member and
Constitutional Drafter of the 2007 Constitution .
MR Pridiyathorn Devakula is Deputy Prime Minister; he was spokesperson for
PM’s Office under Chatchai, Deputy Minister of Commerce under the Anand
and Suchina governments, BOT Governor under Thaksin, and Finance Minister
in Surayud government.
There are noticeably few people from the business world. The cabinet are
almost all 60+ years old and are current and former bureaucrats and those
who have been in the sphere of the bureaucracy and periphery of politics.
It is a very Bangkok-centric cabinet. There is no room for alternative
It is basically a rubber stamp cabinet - the NCPO is in
charge and that is where decisions will be made.
Thailand's military run government
31 August 2014
So Thailand has a new government with the King's
endorsement of junta leader Prayuth Chan-Ocha’s new cabinet.
Military men are in charge of almost every key ministry.
Not one of them has been elected.
Prayuth, who took power in a May 22 coup, placed 11 military officers in
the 32-member cabinet, including as defense minister, foreign minister,
interior minister, commerce minister, education minister and justice
minister. The new finance minister is a civilian, Sommai Phasee, who was
part of the government installed by the Thai army following Thailand’s
last coup in 2006.
The appointments, which include two former army chiefs from Prayuth’s
faction of the military, indicate that Prayuth will continue to rely on
those close to his junta.
Even those not from the military are “at least people who are devoted to
one side of the political divide and see themselves as more righteous
leaders,” said Andrew Stotz, chief executive officer of A. Stotz
Investment Research in Bangkok. “These people may see a rebalancing of
power as a higher priority” than a rush to elections, he said.
There will be no rush to elections. Let us be clear here.
There will be no election until after the next succession. And the
electoral map will be rewritten such that there can only be one winner of
the election....and that will not be the red shirts, Thaksin or anyone
affiliated to them.
The junta and its appointed bodies have to write a new
constitution and enact unspecified measures to “reform” Thai politics and
Several members of Prayuth’s new cabinet were also members of the
government appointed after the 2006 coup. Pridiyathorn Devakula, a former
Bank of Thailand governor who will serve as Prayuth’s deputy premier for
the economy, was finance minister after that coup. Sommai, the new finance
minister, served as Pridiyathorn’s deputy before resigning in 2007 after a
court convicted him of abuse of power over suspension of state agency
official three years earlier.
“Recently, Sommai Phasee has said he would focus on tax reforms and
boosting the economy,” said Tim Leelahaphan, an economist at Maybank Kim
Eng. “We believe it is hard to see exciting policies from him or this
interim cabinet that focuses on economic reforms rather than populist
From the military, Prawit Wongsuwan, a former army chief and defense
minister, will be a deputy prime minister and defense minister, Thanasak
Patimaprakorn, the supreme commander of the armed forces, will be a deputy
prime minister and foreign minister and Anupong Paochinda, a former army
chief, will be interior minister.
Prajin Juntong, the air force chief who has overseen the economy for the
junta since the coup, will be transport minister, Chatchai Sarikulya, the
assistant army chief, will be commerce minister, Paibool Khumchaya, the
army assistant commander-in-chief, will be justice minster, and Narong
Pipathanasai, the head of the navy, will be education minister, for which
he is clearly well - qualified!
The NCPO has control over the ministires that have always
been considered the wealthiest for the people in power - transport,
interior and finance.
The new cabinet has only two female members, Tourism and Sports Minister
Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul and Deputy Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn.