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Thai ruler Prayuth hands top posts to junta inner circle

Reuters

Military ruler Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha has named an interim government dominated by members of the security forces to steer Thailand through at least a year of political reforms before he permits an election.

The Transport, Defense, Commerce and Interior ministries will all go to members of the armed forces. The Interior Ministry goes to Gen. Anupong Paochinda, who was army chief from 2007 to 2010. Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan returns to the Defense Ministry, and will also take on the role of deputy prime minister.

The two are towering figures in Thailand’s military establishment, have close ties to Prayuth and are staunch monarchists who played a role in the previous coup in Thailand in 2006.

Before the Cabinet list was made public, Prayuth said on Friday in his weekly televised address that Thais need not be concerned about the number of military men in the Cabinet. They would all be held accountable, he said.

“I need to have some people that I can trust to work with in this tough situation,” he said. “If they perform poorly, I could reshuffle the cabinet anyway. So, don’t worry too much.”

Thailand’s army chief has kept an iron grip on power as he extends the government, hand-picking an interim parliament that subsequently nominated him prime minister. The parliament is also dominated by members of the military.