Cabinet reshuffle royally endorsed

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BANGKOK, Jan 18 – His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Wednesday endorsed the cabinet reshuffle proposed by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra involving 16 ministerial posts–10 newcomers and six swapped positions.

The premier decided to have a major reshuffle after taking office in August, saying the changes were based on her team’s suitability in continuing the government’s work following its first six months in office.

She also insisted that her brother, ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, was not involved in the reshuffle.

Among key ministers being reshuffled are Kittaratt Na Ranong being re-appointed as deputy prime minister and shifting from the commerce ministry to concurrently take the helm at  the finance ministry, Defence Minister Gen Yutthasak Sasiprapa was appointed as deputy prime minister, while Minister of Transport ACM Sukumpol Suwanatat replacing him as defence minister.

Pheu Thai Party Secretary-General Jarupong Ruangsuwan was appointed transport minister; telecom veteran Arak Chonlatanon, former chief advisor of Thaicom plc replaces Pichai Naripthaphan as energy minister.

Deputy Minister of Finance Boonsong Teriyapirom was moved to a higher post as commerce minister; Suchart Thadathamrongvej, a former finance minister in the Somchai Wongsawat government was appointed as education minister, replacing Woravat Auapinyakul who was shifted to become minister attached to the prime minister’s office.

Pongsawat Svasti of the Chart Pattana Peua Pandin Party was named industry minister to replace ailing Wannarat Channukul who wishes to focus on his health.

A new female minister was included in the reshuffle list. Former Thailand Trade Representative Nalinee Taveesin replaces outgoing female minister attached to the prime minister’s office Kritsana Seehalak.

A key leader of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), Red Shirt Nattawut Saikua, who is facing terrorism charges after leading UDD’s anti-government protest against Abhisit Vejjajiva, was appointed deputy agriculture minister.

The other ministers who lost their jobs were finance minister Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala; deputy prime minister Pol Gen Kowit Wattana and minister of public health Torphong Chaiyasarn. They were among the 10 ministers who got the boot.

The 16 newly-appointed ministers are scheduled to take an oath of allegiance before His Majesty the King before starting their new responsibilities.