September 22, 2008
Thailand Political Stalemate:
Opposition calls for ‘clean’ cabinet
Thailand's opposition Democrat Party on Sunday called on newly-appointed Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat to appoint only cabinet ministers who are 'clean', reported state news agency TNA.
The opposition said that the cabinet should not include or get involved with the 111 senior executives of the court-dissolved Thai Rak Thai (TRT) political party led by ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, now a fugitive seeking political asylum in Britain.
The Democrat party wished to see the new government being formed now to be able to restore confidence among the public, and that only able ministers should be appointed, especially for finance, foreign affairs and commerce ministry portfolios, TNA quoted Dr Buranut Samutharak, spokesman of the Democrat Party, as saying.
The new ministers must not be facing court charges or be relatives of the disqualiified senior executives of the now defunct TRT who were banned by the court from political activity for five years, or those who are now involved with the pro-government demonstrators loyal to the National United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), Dr. Buranut said.
On deep social divisions in Thailand, he suggested that the new government must not amend the 2007 Constitution in an attempt to help Thaksin.
The new government must also not use government-run media for its own benefit, he said.
Thepthai Saenpong, assistant secretary-general of the Democrat Party, said if the new cabinet consists of more than half of the current caretaking cabinet ministers then it shows that the new prime minister is powerless, and not really his own man.
Thailand’s new cabinet line-up is expected to be completed this week.