Anucha tipped to lead DES Ministry

Anucha tipped to lead DES Ministry

Coalition keeps mum on reshuffle rumours

Prime Minister's Office Minister Anucha Nakasai
Prime Minister's Office Minister Anucha Nakasai

Prime Minister's Office Minister Anucha Nakasai is tipped to become the Digital Economy and Society (DES) Minister, replacing Buddhipongse Punnakanta who lost his position after he was convicted and jailed last week, sources in the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) said.

The sources said PPRP leader and deputy prime minister Prawit Wongsuwon met party executives last Thursday to discuss who would fill the vacancy.

Mr Anucha was nominated for the post as he had played a key role in the government's economic affairs team.

As such, he is expected to be put in charge of efforts to steer the economy through digital projects such as the Rao Chana ("We Win") aid scheme, the sources added.

Mr Buddhipongse was one of the eight former leaders of the now-disbanded People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) who were jailed by the Criminal Court on Wednesday last week.

They were granted temporary release by the Appeal Court two days later as they prepared to fight their convictions.

Two other cabinet ministers were convicted along with Mr Buddhipongse and lost their posts as a result, namely Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan and Deputy Transport Minister Thaworn Senneam.

In total, 26 people were sentenced last week for their roles in the protests which culminated in the May 2014 coup that removed Yingluck Shinawatra and her administration from power.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Democrat Party leader Jurin Laksanawisit  declined to confirm a report that said ministerial posts would be swapped among coalition parties in the next cabinet reshuffle.

''I have never heard of it,'' he said, adding that party secretary-general Chalermchai Sri-on is responsible for coordinating with coalition partners.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has not yet told the party to submit a list of party candidates for the ministerial posts to him, Mr Jurin said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Bhumjaithai Party leader Anutin Charnvirakul  brushed aside reports that the party would be given additional cabinet posts in the next reshuffle.

''It all boils down to the spirit of teamwork,'' he said.

When asked to comment on the issue of PPRP MPs abstaining instead of backing Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, secretary-general of Bhumjaithai, in the no-confidence vote on Feb 20, Mr Anutin said the two parties were discussing the matter.

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