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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs           2   August  2011

Thai parliament takes shape

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The Pheu Thai Party has nominated the new government's House speaker, deputy house speaker and second deputy.

The party, which will lead the next coalition government, held a meeting Monday to acknowledge the nominations of Khon Kaen MP Somsak Kiatsuranont as House Speaker, Chaiyaphum MP Charoen Jankomol as the first deputy House speaker and Phayao MP Wisuth Chainarun as the second deputy.

Pheu Thai top list MP and presumptive prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Pheu Thai leader Yongyuth Wichaidit informed their MPs of the decision.

The three selected will be nominated to the House, which will convene for the first time today. After Monday's meeting, Ms. Yingluck said Mr. Somsak was knowledgeable, capable and experienced in parliamentary work because he had been an MP several times before.

She said Mr. Somsak's nomination was supported by all Pheu Thai MPs.

Mr. Somsak said he was grateful for the appointment as he had previously been a deputy house speaker.

A Pheu Thai source said Mr Somsak asked for either the House speaker seat or a cabinet portfolio. By giving him the House speaker seat, Pheu Thai can keep enough cabinet portfolios for other northeastern MPs.

Mr Somsak has not been known to have any involvement with the red shirts and this was likely a major factor in his nomination instead of Col Apiwan Wiriyachai, who joined last year's anti-government protests.

Mr. Wisuth said he was confident he could perform the second deputy's role because he had been an MP before and was familiar with parliamentary work.

Mr. Yongyuth said the Pheu Thai executive board selected secretary-general Jarupong Ruangsuwan to act as the government manager.

He will coordinate work with other coalition parties.

HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn presided over the ceremony on behalf of His Majesty the King.

The rains that continued all day in Bangkok yesterday obstructed the traditional photography of house representatives at the throne hall.

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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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