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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs           7   July  2011

Red shirts can be ministers

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The selection of cabinet members will be based on their knowledge and competence and is not out of bounds to red shirts if they are qualified, prime minister-elect Yingluck Shinawatra said on Thursday.

Ms. Yingluck was responding to comments by Sanoh Thienthong, a Pheu Thai Party list MP-elect, that the appointment of co-leaders of the United front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) to the cabinet could aggravate social divisions.

"Pheu Thai will consider people who have ability to do the job and implemen the party's plans and policies," she said.

She said her government plans to revoke the state levy on some kinds of fuel, such as petrol 91, 95 and diesel.

When this is done would depend on the economic situation. It would be only a temporary measure. If the economy is good, the government might consider reintroducing the same levy system.

The Pheu Thai will not change the system currently used to manage the foreign exchange rate, she said, despite the comment of a member of the Pheu Thai economic team.

(tags: politics, red shirts, cabinet, Yingluck, Thailand) "Mr. Suchart's remark was just a preliminary analysis, not a policy of Pheu Thai. This is a sensitive matter and we have to be careful. The government will continue using the existing foreign exchange mechanism for the time being," she said.

Earlier, Mr. Suchart, who is likely to be made next finance minister, said in an interview that Thailand should move to a managed, fixed exchange rate like that used in China and Singapore.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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