Prayut offers glimpse of reshuffle
The much-awaited cabinet reshuffle involves more than 20 positions except security-related portfolios, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha says.
As an official line-up is not available until it is royally endorsed and announced in the Royal Gazette, Gen Prayut offered a glimpse of it as he discussed the issue yesterday.
Gen Prayut has confirmed the new line-up will see Somkid Jatusripitak, an adviser to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), switch roles with MR Pridiyathorn Devakula, a deputy prime minister in charge of economic affairs.
"Mr Somkid has been with the NCPO as an adviser from the beginning. He'll swap with MR Pridiyathorn," Gen Prayut said.
Foreign Affairs Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn will assume the post of deputy prime minister while a new foreign affairs minister replacing Gen Tanasak will be an "insider".
A source said deputy Foreign Affairs minister Don Pramudwinai is being tipped to take up the ministerial position at the Foreign Ministry.
However, there are no changes made to security-related positions while Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam remains in his post though Yongyuth Yuthavong will be shifted from being a deputy prime minister to an adviser.
The prime minister also said a few retired military men are being appointed to the new cabinet, noting that newcomers are being added only as necessary.
While conceding the entire economic team would be overhauled, Gen Prayut said it is a rotation, none of the ministers are at fault and they have been asked to serve as his advisers.
"They've started the work for us. They have worked hard over the past year. Some are getting old and may need some rest. They are also being asked to help as my advisers. The prime minister's secretary will take care of that," he said.
The prime minister said the new cabinet has hard and tough work ahead of it because it has a little over a year to get things done under the NCPO's roadmap and one of the tasks is to take up reform proposals from the National Reform Council, screen them and decide which ones should be pursued.
Meanwhile, MR Pridiyathorn said yesterday he did not oppose the cabinet reshuffle but insisted Gen Prayut never told him or approached him about his political future when asked about swapping jobs with Mr Somkid.
"The point is he never told me about it [the new post]. So I've no idea. He wasn't specific when he discussed the reshuffle at the [Tuesday] cabinet meeting. So no one knows where they will be," he said.
Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Amnuay Patise said the reshuffle will not disrupt policy implementation.
"New faces or old faces, the prime minister and the policy remain unchanged," said Mr Amnuay, who is said to be on the way out.
Mr Amnuay said Gen Prayut clarified the need to make changes during Tuesday's cabinet meeting but did not specify the positions to be affected. Every cabinet minister understood it was "inappropriate to ask".