Prayuth 'may take defence post'

PM in waiting Prayuth Chan-cha may double as defence minister in the new cabinet while all his deputies at the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) may also take dual roles as deputy premiers and ministers.

Gen Prayuth is said to be working on the list of cabinet members, according to a Matichon Online report.

The NCPO chief has four deputies. Supreme commander Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn, the deputy for security, is tipped to become deputy PM for security and foreign affairs minister. Naval chief Adm Narong Pipattanasai, the deputy for social and psychological affairs, may serve as deputy PM for socio-psychological affairs and education minister.

Air force chief ACM Prajin Juntong, the deputy in charge of the economy, will be a deputy PM and transport minister. Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew, a deputy for special activities, will be a deputy prime minister and PM's Office minister.

The commerce portfolio may go to Gen Chatchai Sarikallaya, an NCPO deputy for the economy and army assistant commander, while the justice ministry will likely be led by Gen Paibul Khoomchaya, another assistant army commander.

Gen Anupong Paochinda, an NCPO adviser and former army chief, will take the interior portfolio, according to Matichon.

Gen Daopong Rattanasuwan, secretary to the NCPO advisers and a former deputy army commander who was touted earlier as interior minister, will be natural resources and the environment ministry.

However, Matichon sources said he might be squeezed out of the cabinet altogether and named secretary to the PM instead.

The labour portfolio has two candidates: Defence permanent secretary Gen Surasak Kanchanarat and Omsin Chiwaphruek, chairman of the State Railway of Thailand.

More military officers may also be appointed deputy ministers.

But it remains to be seen whether Gen Prawit Wongsuwon, chairman of the NCPO advisers, former defence minister and the "big brother" of the army's so-called Burapa Payak (Eastern Tigers) group to which Gen Prayuth belongs, will join the cabinet.

"Gen Prawit used to be on the list as deputy PM and defence minister. But due to pressure from some quarters who view his control over the armed forces may be awkward for Gen Prayuth, it was proposed that Gen Prayuth act as defence minister as well for unity of the armed forces," the source said.

"If this is the case, Gen Prawit won't take the deputy PM's post. However, this depends on Gen Prayuth."

MR Pridiyathorn Devakula, a former deputy prime minister and chairman of the board of Post Publishing Plc, the publisher of the Bangkok Post, Post Today and M2F, is tipped to be deputy PM for the economy while Apisak Tantivorawong, a former president of state-owned Krungthai Bank, may become finance minister.

Krungthep Turakit also reported a similar lineup last Monday.

It said Narongchai Akrasanee, a former commerce minister, might be appointed energy minister while Chakramon Phasukvanich, a former industry permanent secretary, could take the industry portfolio.

Dr Narong Sahamethapat, the public health permanent secretary, may become public helath minister while Pornchai Rujiprapa, a former science and technology permanent secretary, would take the information and communication technology portfolio.

Soottiporn Chittmittrapap, secretary-general of the National Research Council of Thailand, was tipped to be science and technology minister.

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