Govt finalises cabinet line-up
Prayut says govt ready 'by mid-July'
The cabinet line-up has been finalised, with indications that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had the final say on the names on the list, sources said.
The Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), which has led the formation of the new government, was earlier facing infighting over cabinet posts, particularly from the powerful "Sam Mitr" faction.
"I confirm the new government will be formed and will swear the oath of office [before King Rama X] by the middle of July for sure," said Gen Prayut, after he welcomed more than 200 children from the Thai diaspora in the United States to Government House.
In this "final" version of the cabinet line-up, Suriya Jungrungreangkit, a core member of the Sam Mitr faction, will get the industry minister's post.
Earlier, he was upset by the nomination of the PPRP secretary-general, Sontirat Sontijirawong, as energy minister instead of him -- prompting the Sam Mitr to threaten quit the party.
Ultimately, Mr Suriya was forced to give way to Mr Sontirat.
Meanwhile, another Sam Mitr core member, Somsak Thepsuthin, is tipped to become the next justice minister, despite his earlier demands for a portfolio at the Agriculture Ministry.
The latest cabinet line-up features familiar names who are closely connected with Gen Prayut and his deputies.
They included his three deputies -- Somkid Jatusripitak, Wissanu Krea-ngam and the embattled Gen Prawit Wongsuwon -- who are penciled in to retain their current posts.
Gen Anupong Paochinda -- Gen Prayut's other brother-in-arms -- also looks set to retain his position at the Interior Ministry.
Meanwhile, Capt Thammanat Prompao, who is close to Gen Prawit and was once seen as an influential figure, is to become the next labour minister.
"Capt Thammanat has been chosen to take the post to tackle conflicts between factions in the party, since he is a brave man," the source said.
"He has accomplished all of the tasks that were handed to him since the PPRP took the lead in forming the government."
A source at the PPRP said Gen Prawit played a major role in arranging the cabinet line-up, which has to be "sustainable enough" as the PPRP-led coalition only has a razor-thin majority over the opposition bloc.
This arrangement is meant to help ease domestic conflicts between various factions -- including Sam Mitr and those allied with now-defunct People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), the source said.
The source conceded factions in the camp have not yet coalesced into a single force.
Meanwhile, Mr Wissanu on Wednesday confirmed the 36-member cabinet line-up had been finalised.
"The cabinet line-up would be submitted to the King for royal endorsement soon," Mr Wissanu said.
Although there is no time frame for the submission of the cabinet line-up, "the quicker, the better", he said, before adding there are still many things that need to be done afterwards.
He said the next government's policies have also been drafted and are currently being vetted by coalition parties to determine whether they comply with the campaign promises they made before the March 24 election.
The deputy premier refused to comment when asked whether the new government would be in office for long.
"Don't speculate on things that have not happened," he said.
Mr Wissanu likened the new government to a "steel ship loaded with heavy cargo" -- a reference to the size of the next government's task at hand.
The deputy premier earlier likened the incumbent administration as a wooden boat, or rua pae.
"Everyone in the boat must help paddle the boat," the deputy premier said.
"Someone may have to help scoop water out of the boat."
"The most important thing is that no one must drag their feet. If they don't help, they should stay still," said Mr Wissanu. "This ship has Gen Prayut as its captain."
According to the deputy premier, although this is a steel ship, it can get rusty and sink.
"Everyone in the boat must help out," he said.
Mr Wissanu said the government policy that will be declared before parliament must be consistent with the duties and principles stipulated in the constitution, as well as the national strategy.