Northeast MPS bemoan lack of representation in new cabinet

Pheu Thai Party MPs in the Northeast have complained that too many outsiders are likely to be appointed to the new cabinet, leaving little room for them.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, dressed in mudmee, greets a crowd in the Northeast, where she will kick off on Sunday a "Tour Nok Khamin" in Mukdahan province.

Party-list MP Cherdchai Tantisirin said too few MPs from the Northeast will be given cabinet seats despite the fact that they make up the majority of the ruling party's MPs in the House and also constitute the government's primary support base.

Only Peeraphan Palusuk, MP for Yasothon, is likely to join the cabinet, as science and technology minister. Many others will miss out, Mr Cherdchai said.

Many of the outsiders are former civil servants who still adhere to a bureaucratic mindset and can't think "outside the box", he said.

It's unnecessary to bring in such people to improve the government's image, he said.

A number of Northeast MPs are planning to ask the party's executive committee to explain why they are so poorly represented in the new cabinet.

Pheu Thai MP for Udon Thani Anant Sriphan said many northeastern MPs are dismayed that outsiders will become cabinet ministers even though they were not part of the election campaign and have never met the voters. They can't relate to the people and don't know what they need, he said.

But Noppadon Pattama, legal adviser to deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, responded to the criticism, saying that the outsiders, or non-MPs, are needed to help the government stimulate economic growth and work on the infrastructure megaprojects.

Government spokesman Teerat Ratanasevi said the new cabinet ministers will be revealed on Tuesday after an audience with His Majesty the King and swearing an oath of allegiance.

Their first mission will be to attend a cabinet meeting the same day, he said.

Pheu Thai deputy spokesman Anusorn Iamsa-ard said Thaksin Shinawatra, who is widely regarded as Pheu Thai's de facto leader, played no part in the cabinet shake-up. It was all decided by Ms Yingluck, he said.

Mr Anusorn said the new cabinet comprises capable people, and denied that there were any seat quotas involved.

The shake-up should close the door on the possibility of parliament being dissolved, and the government should now complete its full four-year term in office, he said.

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Writer: Aekarach Sattaburuth
Position: Reporter