Thai premier promises major cabinet reshuffle after ministers go
The Thai cabinet will be drastically revamped, following the forced resignation of three ministers, Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said in his weekly television address Sunday, dpa reported.
Samak said widespread speculation that his government would soon fall was wrong. If the legal bombs planted by the previous army administration can be defused then it will run usefully for some time, he argued.
Foreign minister Noppadon Pattama resigned last week after the constitution court declared him guilty of signing a controversial border deal with Cambodia without parliamentary approval. Two other ministers were recently forced out by legal rulings.
The government will press for changes to last year's army constitution that bans a political party whose executives cheat at elections.
Samak's People Power Party faces dissolution later this year after the Election Commission discovered evidence of such cheating.
Samak and his cabinet were mauled by the opposition in a recent parliamentary no-confidence debate, but survived thanks to a hefty majority.
The prime minister also complained in his weekly address that the Cambodian border controversy is artificial as the new constitution is deliberately designed to trip his cabinet up with stringent rules over border agreements, said the Thai News Agency.
Samak acknowledged that many good potential ministers were leery about joining his cabinet because they did not think his government would last long. He said his new cabinet lineup would become clearer within a week.
The PPP government is widely assumed to be a proxy for former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra who remains popular with the poor but is loathed by much of the military and older elite.
A military junta ousted Thaksin in September 2006 for alleged corruption and a court subsequently banned him from politics for five years, along with 110 colleagues.
A leader of the activist People's Alliance for Democracy said its anti-government protest would proceed until Samak and his team were out. Pipop Thongchai told TNA it was important to get the cabinet out as soon as possible to stop it cementing its power base with military and civil service reshuffles later this year.