Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Kittirat, Thirachai form key economic team for Yingluck

The Yingluck's Cabinet is out! Most of them are known close aides of former Premier Thaksin Shinawatr. No red-shirt core leaders in the line-up. No real "outsiders" as such. Gen Yuthasak Sasiprapa, the new defence minister, may fall in that category but then he is supposed to be in a position to link up with the military for the Yingluck government.

The two most outstanding ministers taking up economic posts: Kittirat na Ranong, who is both deputy premier and commerce minister, and Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala, the former secretary general of the Securities and Exchange Commission, is the new finance minister. It appears, therefore, that Kittirat, and not Thirachai,another "outsider," will head the economic team. Interestingly, Dr Olarn Chaipravat, a long-time economic adviser to Pheu Thai Party, doesn't hold a Cabinet post. Dr Vichit Surapongchai, Siam Commercial Bank's executive chairman, who was in negotiation earlier, pulled out when he did not get the agreement to form his own economic team.

A major surprise is the new foreign minister: Surapong Tohvichakchaikul, a Pheu Thai MP, who is known to have expressed his strong support for Thaksin, who has no prior experience in foreign affairs. Earlier speculation that at least two former Thai ambassadors close to the ex-premier were in the run was ruled out at the last minute.

Stay tuned. More comments on other Cabinet members are coming up.

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