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Thaksin kicks defence, agriculture ministers


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Govt announces new cabinet reshuffle

Thai PM replaces defence, agriculture ministers

BANGKOK: -- Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra replaced his agriculture and defence ministers in a Cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday, apparently because they failed to resolve Thailand's bird flu crisis and continuing violence in the country's Muslim-dominated south.

Defence Minister General Chetta Thanajaro and Agriculture Minister Somsak Thesuthin were removed from their posts, while two deputy prime ministers and several junior officials were fired or transferred in Mr Thaksin's ninth reshuffle since taking office in 2001, an official statement said.

Mr Chetta was known to have had differences with security agencies in resolving the problems in southern Thailand, where violence blamed mostly on Islamic insurgents has claimed hundreds of lives this year. He has been replaced by General Sanphan Boonyanan.

Mr Somsak had long been at odds with the Public Health Ministry over measures to contain bird flu, which resurfaced in July and has killed 11 Thais so far this year. He will be replaced by current Deputy Prime Minister Wan Mohamad Nor Mattha.

-- AP 2004-10-06

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Govt announces new cabinet reshuffle

Thai PM replaces defence, agriculture ministers

BANGKOK: -- Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra replaced his agriculture and defence ministers in a Cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday, apparently because they failed to resolve Thailand's bird flu crisis and continuing violence in the country's Muslim-dominated south.

Defence Minister General Chetta Thanajaro and Agriculture Minister Somsak Thesuthin were removed from their posts, while two deputy prime ministers and several junior officials were fired or transferred in Mr Thaksin's ninth reshuffle since taking office in 2001, an official statement said.

Mr Chetta was known to have had differences with security agencies in resolving the problems in southern Thailand, where violence blamed mostly on Islamic insurgents has claimed hundreds of lives this year. He has been replaced by General Sanphan Boonyanan.

Mr Somsak had long been at odds with the Public Health Ministry over measures to contain bird flu, which resurfaced in July and has killed 11 Thais so far this year. He will be replaced by current Deputy Prime Minister Wan Mohamad Nor Mattha.

-- AP 2004-10-06

Hmmmm and the election is due in a bit over 3 months. Does Shincorp run a business card printing company too ?

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Govt announces new cabinet reshuffle

BANGKOK: -- The government announced a new cabinet reshuffle this morning, with changes focused on posts involving in public health and national security affairs.

The new cabinet reshuffle, the 9th of its kind of the present Thaksin administration, makes a new comer, Gen. Sampun Boonyanun, the former Permanent Secretary for Defence, become the new Defence Minister, replacing Gen. Chetta Thanajaro, who resigned from the post yesterday.

Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Somsak Thepsuthin and Industry Minister Pinij Jarusombat were shifted to become deputies prime minister, while Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Thamarak Isarangura and Deputy Prime Minister Capt. Suchart Jaovisidha yesterday resigned from the posts.

Deputy Prime Minister Wan Muhamad Noor Matha was shifted to become the new Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister, replacing Mr. Somsak, while Deputy Commerce Minister Pongsak Ruktapongpisal was appointed to become the new Industry Minister.

Deputy Public Health Minister Anuthin Charnveerakul was shifted to become the Deputy Commerce Minister, replacing Mr. Pongsak; while another new comer, Dr. Suchai Charoenratanakul, a medical expert from Siriraj Hospital was appointed to become the new Deputy Public Health Minister, replacing Mr. Anuthin.

The other new comer, Aree Wong-araya, the former Permanent Secretary for Interior, was appointed as the new Deputy Education Minister, replacing Mr. Sutham Saengpratoom, who was shifted to be the new Deputy Interior Minister

...more

--TNA 2004-10-06

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Phew!.... so many major position changes! He's busy reshuffling the deck time and time again, but the Tarot readings still keep coming out the same... Doom.

He'll get it right soon. This is, after all, the 10th TRT Cabinet since early 2001. More changes than a pole spinner. :o

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He'll get it right soon.

optimism does not become you doc.

I doubt he will work out that the first person who should have been shuffled was himself.

is another party likely to be any better?( at helping the country, not lining their own pockets )

:o

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New cabinet sworn in

PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN: -- Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra led the new cabinet to be sworn in before His Majesty the King this evening.

The oath taking ceremony was held at the Klaikangvol Palace in Thailand's upper southern province of Prachuap Khiri Khan at 05:30 p.m.

The new cabinet includes Deputies Prime Minister Somsak Thepsuthin and Pinij Jarusombat, Defence Minister Gen. Sampun Boonyanun, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, Industry Minister Pongsak Ruktapongpisal, Deputy Commerce Minister Anuthin Charnveerakul, Deputy Public Health Minister Dr. Suchai Charoenratanakul, Deputy Education Minister Aree Wong-araya, and Deputy Interior Minister Sutham Saengpratoom.

The government announced the latest cabinet reshuffle this morning, with changes focused on posts involving in public health and national security affairs.

The new cabinet shake-up took effect as of today after it was endorsed by His Majesty the King in a Royal Command.

The prime minister has reserved not to disclose whether this was the last reshuffle in his cabinet before his first four-year term in office ends early next year.

This is the 10th Thaksin cabinet, with nine reshuffles so far.

--TNA 2004-10-06

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Cabinet reshuffle dismissed as pre-poll PR stunt

BANGKOK: -- Political commentators have slammed yesterday’s Cabinet re-shuffle as a ploy to shift blame to individual ministers for the government’s collective failures to quell violence in the South and contain the spread of bird flu.

“The government is in free-fall caused by the southern insurgen-cy and the bird flu and it is trying to regain its balance,” said Chulalongkorn University lecturer Sompop Manarangsan.

The new Cabinet line-up is expected to give the government a new lease of life in order to prepare for the next general election, said Sompop.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has juggled the ministerial portfolios in order to appease various factions within the ruling Thai Rak Thai Party, he said.

“Deputy Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh was removed from overseeing the southern security situation. In order to appease him, Wan Muhamad Noor Matha [taken from a deputy prime minister’s post], was appointed to the post of agriculture minister,” he said.

Popular commentator Sukhum Nualsakul said Thaksin had shuffled his ministers in preparation for the general election.

“The switch of portfolios between Wan Noor and Somsak Thepsuthin is a clear signal that Thaksin is making some final preparations before the polls,” he said.

Wan Noor moved to Somsak’s Agriculture portfolio and Somsak replaced him as a deputy prime minister. The two are key power brokers within the ruling party, he said.

Campaign for Popular Democracy secretary-general Suriyasai Katasila said the government was trying to draw attention away from its poor performance.

“Ministers were switched around in the Cabinet in order to portray a fresh image, although all have been responsible for failing to contain the spread of bird flu and for spiralling violence in the South,” he said.

Suriyasai said Thaksin’s decision to reshuffle the Cabinet was intended to ensure his political survival rather than protecting the public interest.

“It is time for the prime minister to admit his failures instead of offering his ministers as sacrificial lambs,” he said.

Democrat Party deputy leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said changes to ministerial portfolios could not improve anything, because the government was pursuing flawed policies.

With regard to security measures in the restive South, the government is relying on intimidation tactics and the security situation will worsen regardless of the number of personnel changes, Abhisit said.

About half of the ministers in charge of fighting bird flu have been replaced, while the other half remain in their jobs, sending conflicting signals about its commitment to contain the avian disease, he said.

Two Thai-language newspapers, Thai Rath and Thai Post, published editorials claiming Thaksin’s new Cabinet reflected a turn of political expediency ahead of the general election.

“Thaksin cannot sit still and has to shuffle his ministers. According to a Thai Rak Thai straw poll, the ruling party’s popularity has plummeted to an alarming level and it might win some 220 House seats from a target of 400,” Thai Rath said yesterday on its op-ed page.

An academic yesterday attacked Thaksin for the reshuffle, saying frequent ministerial changes showed Thaksin’s management style had led his subordinates to create more problems than they were solving.

Sombat Thamrongthanwong, a lecturer at the National Institute Development Administration’s political science faculty, said Thaksin lacked the skills to choose the right people for the job.

“When the country is facing a crisis such as bird flu, they [ministers] cannot solve the problem.’

Sombat said Thaksin would face a backlash over the frequent changes, because ministers affected would likely hold grudges against him. “The changes create a loyalty and unity problem. Infighting will be self-destructive for the government,’’ he said.

--The Nation 2004-10-07

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