Thai king approves new cabinet

The Thai king has approved the country's first post-coup cabinet, Thai television reports say.

    Surayud Chulanont has won royal support for his cabinet

    Thailand's television stations on Monday broadcast the new government line-up to serve under Surayud Chulanont, who was appointed the prime minister after the military ousted  former premier Thaksin Shinawatra on September 19.

    Surayud had submitted his cabinet selections to King Bhumibol Adulyadej and needed a royal endorsement before making the cabinet public.

    The new caretaker government is expected to run the country until elections in October 2007.

    New line-up

    Key posts went to well-respected economists, high-profile civil servants and two retired military officers.

    The military council that ousted Thaksin accused his government of corruption and is investigating the allegations.

    Pridiyathorn Devakula, Thailand's central bank chief, was named finance minister and will also serve as a deputy prime minister for economic matters.

    The highly regarded economist has been praised for policies that promoted financial stability.

    The job of foreign minister went to Nitya Pibulsongkram, a career diplomat who has served as an ambassador to the US and the UN.

    Bunrod Somtad a retired army general and a longtime friend of Surayud, was named defence minister.

    The two went to military school together and Bunrod rose to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    According to the road map set out by the coup makers, Surayud's government will rule for about a year, until the new constitution is written and elections can be held.

    The military council that led the coup installed Surayud as prime minister on October 1, and he pledged to have his government in place in about a week.

    SOURCE: AFP


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