Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will interview candidates for the new chief of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP).
The premier is seeking a candidate who can work in compliance with government policy, said Chote Trachu, the ministry's permanent secretary.
The successful candidate will replace former chief Damrong Pidech, who is known for his aggressive crackdown on forest encroachment and close ties with the Pheu Thai Party.
The premier has invited candidates for the DNP's top job to come in for talks, Mr Chote said yesterday, adding that the cabinet is expected to appoint the new DNP chief during its weekly meeting next week.
It is not customary for the prime minister to personally interview candidates for DNP chief.
The permanent secretary said that although the move is unprecedented, it should not be interpreted as political interference. The DNP director-general position is regarded as the most important job in the ministry and has a key mandate to implement the government's policy on forest rehabilitation.
A ministry source said the ministry has nominated the Royal Forest Department's deputy chief Reungchai Prayoonwej as the new DNP chief, but Ms Yingluck prefers Kasemsan Chinnavaso, director-general of the Department of Environment Quality Promotion.
If the cabinet cannot pick the new DNP chief next week, it may consider appointing an acting director-general, the source said. The cabinet will also appoint four other key positions at the ministry, comprising two inspector-generals, a deputy permanent-secretary, and director-general of the Groundwater Resources Department.
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- Writer: King-oua Laohong