Prawit rules out role in new cabinet

Former defence minister Prawit Wongsuwan yesterday said he would not be taking up a cabinet post in the new government because he wanted to continue working at his forest preservation foundation.

The influential general, who was earlier tipped to be deputy prime minister responsible for security affairs or defence minister in the soon to be formed administration, made the statement after army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha and other senior officers turned up to wish him a happy birthday at the foundation on Phaya Thai road. 

"At the moment there is no position [that I will take up]. Let me continue with my work at the foundation to preserve the forest in the eastern provinces," Gen Prawit said when asked about the possibility of him taking on a cabinet role in the new government.

Gen Prawit is a key military figure in the Burapha Payak group of officers who forged their military career in the eastern provinces. Many current key officers, including Gen Prayuth and former army chief Anupong Paojinda, are members of this group.

"If you want to see me, come to the foundation to help me out with the work. I'm not going to any ministry," said Gen Prawit after senior military officers turned up at the foundation to wish him a happy birthday ahead of his 69th birthday anniversary on Monday.

An informed source said Gen Prawit would only work behind the scenes and serve as chief of the National Council for Peace and Order's advisory team.

However, the same source said Gen Anupong would become the interior minister in the new government.

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