Prayut gives all ministers equal chance to stay or go

Prayut gives all ministers equal chance to stay or go

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha refuses to clarify rumours of a cabinet shake-up in a press conference at Government House on Wednesday. (Photo by Thanarak Khunton)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha refuses to clarify rumours of a cabinet shake-up in a press conference at Government House on Wednesday. (Photo by Thanarak Khunton)

The prime minister says he won't play favourites should he reshuffle the cabinet, as criticism grows about too little action on the economy.

Gen Prayut has been playing a guessing game on the issue amid growing speculation about the need to bring in new faces to restore confidence in the government as the economy slumps.

The prime minister used his military connections to appoint nine retired armed forces generals, one retired police officer and two active army officers as cabinet members. Others were invited by him to serve the government which was set up after the military coup in May last year.

Gen Prayut said none of the 32 cabinet members had any special privilege that would affect a reshuffle. He refused to go into detail except that he could separate ''friends and brothers'' from his decision.

The bottom line to measure the performance of cabinet ministers was their efficiency and he had regularly checked their ''homework'', he added.

But he indicated that the position of Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon could be saved despite speculation that Gen Udomdej Sitabutr could be promoted from deputy defence minister after the army chief ends his military service in September.

"Not everybody can be a defence minister," the prime minister said.

Gen Prawit holds another position as the deputy prime minister in charge of security affairs.

Gen Prawit has dismissed cabinet shake-up reports as "unproductive" to the government and the National Council for Peace and Order.

The amended interim charter that took effect on July 15 opened the way for a change in the economic ministers as it allows banned politicians to join the cabinet. The focus is on Somkid Jatusripitak, an advisor to the NCPO who is served a five-year political ban until 2012.

Deputy Prime Minister Pridiyathorn Devakula is the economic team leader which includes Finance Minister Sommai Phasee among others.

Business leaders have criticised the government's economic team as being too slow in tackling the economic slowdown.

MR Pridiyathorn has shrugged off a rumour that he would be a target in any reshuffle.

Mr Sommai said on Wednesday that he had no time to worry about a reshuffle or who would be his successor, and denied reports that he had submitted a resignation letter to the prime minister.

"I've never written a resignation letter. I don't have time to do it because of my work and meetings. And the prime minister has never told me to do so,'' Post Today quoted him as saying.



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