PM dismisses cabinet rumours
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PM dismisses cabinet rumours

Keeps mum on when reshuffle will come

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, right, greets ministers in their first cabinet meeting in September last year. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, right, greets ministers in their first cabinet meeting in September last year. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on Saturday dismissed rumours that a cabinet shake-up is on the horizon.

"There's no plan [for a new cabinet reshuffle] to be carried out today, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, for sure," said Mr Srettha, while on holiday in the seaside district of Hua Hin of Prachuap Khiri Khan province on Saturday.

He was responding to recent rumours that a new cabinet line-up has been prepared and would be announced soon.

"Rumours ar rumours. However, they have caused many to feel uncomfortable about the changes speculated to soon come," he said.

Some of the people named in the reports had called him and he had assured them the rumours weren't true, he said.

Even if a cabinet reshuffle were to be needed at some time, the main reason would really be about the suitability of ministers for their jobs, he said.

In response to rumours that he himself would lose his finance minister's position while taking over the defence minister's job from the incumbent, Sutin Klungsang, Mr Srettha said: "No, there's no such change occurring at this point. Nothing that clear exists at this point in time."

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, believed to be the de facto leader of the ruling Pheu Thai Party, meanwhile, said he was simply a supporter of the Pheu Thai-led coalition.

Mr Srettha was the one who will decide on any cabinet reshuffle, a decision the PM should also discuss with his coalition partners, he said.

Thaksin, who was in Chiang Mai on Saturday for the Songkran holiday, however, said he talks to Mr Srettha constantly and had even advised on what matters can wait, and what can't.

According to a Pheu Thai source, a cabinet reshuffle will come right after the Songkran holiday, and among the changes is that Pichai Chunhavajira, the PM's adviser and chairman of the Stock Exchange of Thailand, will replace Mr Srettha as finance minister.

Apart from Mr Sutin, who is pegged to lose his defence minister's post, Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew is likely to lose his cabinet's portfolio.

Both would be assigned to oversee the coalition's parliamentary affairs and strategies, according to the source.

Despite saying he was willing to do whatever was assigned to him, Mr Sutin said he wanted more time to push for development of his current ministry.

"It might be usual in Thai politics for cabinet to be reshuffled frequently, but the same thing doesn't appear to be normal in other countries," he said.

Dr Cholnan, meanwhile, declined to comment on the speculated reshuffle, saying he was happy to do whatever role is assigned to him.

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