September 23, 2008
Thailand Political Stalemate:
Somchai yet to reveal his new cabinet
The list of Thailand’s new cabinet ministers has yet to be made public although Somchai Wongsawat, elected prime minister a week ago, said Monday that the line-up is ready to submit to the king for royal endorsement.
Local media speculated on possible line-up of the new cabinet after the prime minister said his new cabinet was complete and the qualification of the proposed ministers being vetted, state news agency TNA reported Monday.
Somchai, brother-in-law of ousted, fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, did not name any cabinet members but said there were some outsiders, those who are not members of the six coalition parties.
The delay in forming the cabinet, said local media reports, is due to last minute jockeying and lobbying.
Meanwhile, Somchai’s bid to reach a compromise with anti-government protesters seems to be making little progress while People Alliance for Democracy (PAD), the protest group, continue their occupation of the Government House.
PAD has reportedly come up with a revamped version of what they earlier proposed - ‘new politics’, an election system in which some members of the lower house would be elected from their constituencies while the remainder elected from various professions.
Chamlong Srimuang, one of the top leaders of PAD, was quoted as telling local press that the group’s proposed new politics, which had been drastically changed, would create a fair and level playing field and simultaneously "prevent capitalists from dominating the lower house".
PAD’s earlier system called for 70 percent of House seats to be filled by appointees, with the remainder being elected, which sparked criticism that having a parliament with only 30 percent of its seats filled by voters is not moving toward, but away from, participatory democratic government.