Thaksin expected to reward close aides

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Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is likely to reward a number of his close aides with Cabinet seats on his return to power, a source in his Thai Rak Thai Party said yesterday.

Aides in line for ministerial posts include Somchai Sunthornvut, Adisorn Piengket, Yongyut Tiyapairat and Phumthem Vejchayachai, according to the source.

Those aides had worked hard during TRT’s campaigning in the run-up to Sunday’s general election, the source said.

Thaksin told reporters yesterday they should contribute names of possible candidates for key Cabinet posts, such as finance and education.

He said former central bank governor Chaiyawat Wibulswasdi and Siam Commercial Bank ex-president Olarn Chaipravat were among leading candidates for the finance portfolio.

However, he said he had no candidates in mind for education minister.

The TRT source said former defence minister Thamarak Isarangura was likely to replace Chavalit Yongchaiyudh as the deputy prime minister overseeing security, while former armed forces supreme commander General Mongkol Ampornpisit was a leading candidate for defence minister.

Thaksin said yesterday he wanted a young man with good knowledge about parliamentary laws and regulations to become the new House speaker.

The source said leading candidates for House speaker were Justice Minister Pongthep Thepkanjana, Interior Minister Bhokin Bhalakula, and Deputy Prime Minister Chaturon Chaisang.

It is now customary for the House speaker, who doubles as Parliament president, to come from the political party with the most MP seats.

Thaksin disclosed yesterday that Chat Thai leader Banharn Silapa-archa, whose party was the other partner in the previous TRT-led coalition government, had told him over the phone that Chat Thai would prefer to “stay out” this time.

The TRT leader said he believed that with more than 370 House seats, the party could “go it alone”.

Published on February 08, 2005

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