Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chinese New Year Cabinet Shake-Up?

The rumoured Cabinet reshuffle may materialize earlier than expected. Matichon Daily this morning even suggested that the changes will take place on Jan 23 -- just in time to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

The first reshuffle of the Yingluck Cabinet may be on a small scale, however. It may involve the replacement of the agriculture minister, Theera Wongsamut, under the quota of coalition partner, Chat Thai Pattana of Banharn Silpar-archa. The ruling Pheu Thai Party will argue that the change is necessary to improve the efficiency of water management in the new year after the recent devastating flood.

But it is also known that Banharn has negotiated for a delay in the change until later when a larger-scale reshuffle could be effected all at once.

Another possible change is the industry portfolio. Chat Pattana Party has let it be known that Minister Wannarat Channukul has been taken ill and doctors have proposed that he take a rest. It's not clear whether this party, under the control of Suwat Lippatapanlop, will name another candidate for the post.

It's not clear whether the rumoured shakeup next week will include the replacement of the finance minister as had been speculated in the past week. It could turn out to be a mini-reshuffle to let Pheu Thai reclaim the agriculture post to consolidate its control over flood management activities. Pheu Thai is said to have offered Banharn one of the three portfolios in exchange for the agriculture post: education, public health or social development.

It's going to be a very exciting Chinese New Year this year, politically anyway.

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