Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra reshuffled her cabinet in an apparent move to consolidate her position amid remarks that the prime minister is only serving as “caretaker” for her brother, exiled former leader Thaksin Shinawatra.
The reshuffle, approved by King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Sunday, saw 12 members dropped while most key ministers retained their posts, including finance minister Kittirat Na-Ranong despite an order from her older brother to remove him, reports The Nation.
Analysts say Ms. Shinawatra’s “defiance” only reflected her grip on power 16 months after she was sworn into office. “With this reshuffle, she has signalled growing political confidence and independence,” a western diplomat told the Financial Times.
The new line-up includes core members of the now defunct Thai Rai Thai Party – Thaksin loyalists – who were previously banned from political activity for five years and members of Shinawatra’s Puea Thai party.
Opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva criticized the sweep of the cabinet, saying that Shinawatra was handing out “rewards” rather than “serving the people”. Others claim the reshuffle would unlikely increase the efficiency of the government and only serve political ambitions, according to The Nation.
“The government needs to draw clearer policies to promote economic growth, as well as appointing more professionals to work for the country. In the past, the government has appointed some ministers in ‘trainee’ capacities. As soon as they learned how to do the job, the Cabinet was reshuffled, so their tasks were not achieved,” Buntoon Wongseelashote, a Board of Trade member and chairman of the committee monitoring trade issues, said.