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Samak shows he's no puppet
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  1. #1
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    Samak shows he's no puppet

    Samak shows he's no puppet

    Steps in and changes cabinet list, says source

    BANGKOK POST REPORTERS


    Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej went some way to dispelling rumours he is just a puppet leader when he stepped in yesterday to alter the proposed cabinet line-up, according to a People Power party (PPP) source.

    At yesterday's meeting with core PPP members, Mr Samak said certain portfolios should be revised before he submits the cabinet list for royal endorsement.

    ''I have to be sure that every cabinet minister is up to doing his job, so I have to consider suitability,'' he told the PPP core members, according to the source.

    Mr Samak's show of power in choosing the cabinet line-up, which was prepared by PPP deputy leader Somchai Wongsawat and PPP secretary-general Surapong Suebwonglee, came as a surprise to some observers, as many people feel the former Bangkok governor is just the political nominee of deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

    In a statement he delivered after receiving royal endorsement as prime minister on Tuesday, Mr Samak insisted he was in total control of the party.

    According to Mr Surapong, the cabinet line-up is expected to be forwarded for royal endorsement in a couple of days.

    The source said Mr Samak disapproved of the nomination of party-list MP Santi Prompat as transport minister and that of Chaiya Sasomsap, also a party-list MP, as justice minister.

    Sources in the PPP said Mr Samak felt that Mr Santi might not be suitable for the transport portfolio as he had only had experience in running a construction firm.

    A source close to veteran Buri Ram politician Newin Chidchob, who reportedly supported Mr Santi's bid to be transport minister, said Mr Newin agreed with the decision.

    Mr Samak, according to party sources, suggested Mr Santi and former president of Mcot Plc Mingkwan Saengsuwan, tipped to be commerce minister, swap seats.

    The sources added that certain party members felt Mr Chaiya was not appropriate for the justice minister's portfolio and that he was likely to be made public health minister instead.

    Sompong Amornvivat of the PPP, who looks set for a deputy prime minister post, has told Mr Samak he is interested in taking over the Justice Ministry, the sources said.

    The sources added that Mr Samak has suggested that Anusorn Wongwan, PPP MP for Lamphun, take charge at the Culture Ministry instead of the Education Ministry.

    According to the source, Mr Samak has also suggested dropping Chai Chidchob from the PPP's cabinet line-up.

    Mr Chai, father of veteran Buri Ram politician Newin, has reportedly been nominated as a minister attached to the Prime Minister's Office.

    A group of 40 northeastern MPs reportedly complained to Mr Samak that most of the cabinet seats have been allocated to politicians with close connections to Mr Newin.

    They said they did not belong to Mr Newin's faction and therefore did not get the cabinet seats in the quota reserved for northeastern MPs, who make up most of the PPP MPs.

    The source said that Mr Samak has also hand-picked Sahat Bunditkul, who served as his deputy while he was Bangkok governor, as a deputy prime minister.

    Mr Samak also wants Mr Somchai, tipped to be a deputy prime minister, to double as education minister.

    A source close to Mr Newin said the former deputy agriculture minister clarified with Mr Samak that he had never pushed for a cabinet seat for his father.
    Mr Newin believed the report that his father would be awarded a cabinet post was an attempt to discredit him.

    PPP spokesman Kudep Saikrachang said Mr Samak will have the final say on the list which would be kept confidential until it received royal endorsement.

    ''The prime minister has the authority to make changes to the list if he wants to,'' said the spokesman.

    The Puea Pandin party has reportedly revised its proposed cabinet line-up.

    According to the new list, party leader Suvit Khunkitti will be a deputy prime minister and double as industry minister.

    Man Patthanothai, an unsuccessful candidate in the Dec 23 polls who is close to party adviser Vatana Asavahame, will take charge as information and communications technology minister while Sitthichai Kowsurat will be made deputy interior minister.
    Last edited by Khun Don; 31-01-08 at 07:56 PM. Reason: spacing

  2. #2
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    Re: Samak shows he's no puppet

    So some of the phone calls to TOXIN in HK is bearing fruit, he might change his mind agai about who to put in what seat, so PM SAMAK will have to make a couple more to be sure he has got it right this time..

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    Re: Samak shows he's no puppet

    Yup-his mobile phone earpiece is now probably permanently welded in place!

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    Re: Samak shows he's no puppet

    CABINET LINE-UP

    Samak backs down

    People Power leader bows to party pressure on appointments; sources say reshuffle likely after six months

    New Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej completed his Cabinet line-up yesterday by yielding to pressure from the party's financiers to make appointments with which he is unhappy, a source said.

    Meanwhile, the People Power Party today will meet with other coalition partners to discuss joint policies for their administration.

    The final Cabinet line-up would see Samak double as the defence minister. There will be no deputy minister as a team of retired generals and defence experts would serve as Samak's advisers at the Defence Ministry, according to the source.

    After much power wrestling within Samak's PPP, Santi Promphat will become the transport minister. He is a trusted aide to former transport minister Pongsak Ruktapongpisal, a former Thai Rak Thai executive who is banned from politics. Pongsak is also known as a party financier.

    Samak earlier was unhappy with candidates for the transport, education and energy portfolios.

    Somchai Wongsawat, brother-in-law of ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra, will serve as the education minister, in addition to deputy premier, according to the source. Anusorn Wongwan, the original candidate for the education portfolio, would serve as culture minister.

    Samak's close aide Teerapol Noprumpa said yesterday that it would take a few days to check the qualifications of the proposed ministers. He expected the Cabinet list to be submitted for Royal endorsement next week.

    Another People Power source said the party leaders formed the present Cabinet under an agreement to have a reshuffle in the next four to six months.

    A Samak 2 Cabinet would see more outsiders and the party's financiers as ministers if the Constitution Court issues a ruling on laws to prevent conflict of interest in a way that does not block the chance of financiers from assuming ministerial posts.

    Former PM's office minister Theerapat Serirangsan had initiated a law against conflict of interest.

    The former 111 executives of the disbanded Thai Rak Thai Party who were banned from politics for five years may also get to be secretaries or advisor to ministers, despite public opposition. If that is the case, it is likely that Thaksin will be an advisor to the government.

    In a related development, People Power deputy secretary-general Noppadon Pattama will table a 46-page national policy draft at a morning meeting with the newly-formed government at Sukhothai Hotel today, a party source said yesterday.

    Noppadon yesterday chaired a meeting of the working team on national policies.

    Some of the content in the original draft was altered and re-prioritised at the meeting, the source said.

    It now consists of seven strategies and 17 policies that seek to ensure that all agencies will work together harmoniously.

    Emergency policies in the draft could be promptly employed as they were derived from poll results on what the public considered the most pressing issues facing the country.

    The government should immediately tackle issues such as national reconciliation, economic problems such as income distribution to provincial folk, drug abuse and unrest in the South.

    Earlier, Noppadon announced the party had drawn up a national policy draft to be announced before Parliament. The party will maintain the type of policies that had taken the now disbanded Thai Rak Thai Party to its height as a populist group.

    These policies include the Village Fund, education loans, the two- and three-digit lotteries, CEO governors, debt moratorium, village banks, the "million cattle" project and the war on drugs.

    Piyanart Srivalo,

    Samatcha Hunsara

    The Nation

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