Grumbling in the Ranks
The Friends of Newin faction, whose defection led to Abhisit Vejjajiva's clinching of the prime minister post and who have since been branded as traitors by pro-Thaksin supporters, are set to get the much-coveted interior and transport portfolios in the first Democrat Party-led administration in almost eight years.
PM Abhisit told reporters yesterday that he did not regard the slating of ministerial posts to Newin followers as a loss for the Democrat Party, adding that all the Cabinet members would work under him for the entire country, and not for the Democrat Party alone.
Former caretaker Prime Minister Chaovarat Chanweerakul is likely to become interior minister.
Chaovarat is the father of Anuthin Chanweerakul, a former deputy public health minister and a close friend of banned politician Newin Chidchob. As caretaker PM, Chaovarat defied pressure from fellow colleagues in the Pheu Thai Party for him to dissolve the House of Representatives when it became clear that the Democrat Party had gathered enough support to form a new government.
MPs from the Friends of Newin faction were also expected to serve as deputy ministers in the interior and transport ministries.
Democrat Party secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban yesterday had to explain at length to convince party executives why the interior seat had to be given to the Friends of Newin, a breakaway faction from the disbanded People Power Party.
Suthep explained to the disappointed Democrat executives that it was one of the conditions sought by the Newin faction in exchange for their support for Abhisit, a party source said. Suthep was quoted as saying that, "Without them, we wouldn't have become the government."
Ex-senator Chumpol Silpa-archa, from the Chart Thai Pattana Party, is likely to become the tourism and sport minister while Sanan Kachornprasart is expected to become the agriculture minister. Chumpol is the younger brother of Banharn Silpa-archa, former leader of the disbanded Chart Thai Party, which has been banned from politics for five years.
Another appointee from the former Chart Thai Party is Arunee Prisanananthakul, who is set to become deputy agriculture minister. Arunee is the niece of former agriculture minister Somsak Prisanananthakul.
Suwit Khunkitti, a former industry minister and ex-leader of the Puea Pandin Party, is expected to become natural resources and environment minister. He is now the leader of the Social Action Party.
Most of these ministers belong in a police lineup instead of running the country.
Newin's faction gets Transport and Interior. Those two ministries are traditionally the ATM machines for the most corrupt. With all the new infrastructure projects on the table, Newin and company are looking to get even more filthy rich, and with the Interior Ministry under their control as well, who will be in a position to investigate their crimes? The Fox will be guarding the hen house.
Agriculture will be in the hands of Sanan, another convicted criminal.
Defender of Thai virginity and procurer of school uniform kickbacks, Suwit Khunkitt, will be getting his grubby hands of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry.
Of course, we won't be hearing any sanctimonious cries from The Nation about Ugly Duckling cabinets or terrorist acts from the PAD in defense of ridding the country of the Democrat Party's coalition of corruption.