Tanasak ready to join cabinet

Supreme Commander Tanasak Patimapragorn confirmed Wednesday he was ready to join the cabinet of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha where he was expected to become a deputy prime minister and foreign minister.

Gen Tanasak only smiled when asked to confirm his posts, saying the media "has appointed me as several ministers, so I do not know which ministry it will be". But, he said, he was ready to do his best for the national good.

Asked if he might oversee several ministries, Gen Tanasak smiled and said he would if asked.

Gen Tanasak noted that, as deputy chief of the National Council for Peace and Order, he already supervised four ministries, but let their permanent secretaries work semi-autonomously. They were allowed to act like ministers and the NCPO only intervened to speed up projects, the supreme commander said.

Gen Tanasak was scheduled to visit Indonesia on Aug 27-28 and Cambodia on Sept 1-2.

Observers predicted the five deputy prime ministers will be Gen Tanasak, Air Force chief ACM Prajin Jantong, Navy chief Adm Narong Pipattanasai, former police chief Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew and MR Pridiyathorn Devakula. The four military officers will retire on Sept 30.

As for how long they'll be in office, Prime Minister Prayuth told a delegation of Thai and European businessmen Wednesday that his government would be in office for one year. ACM Prajin said Wednesday the next general election would occur in early 2016.

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