Cabinet reshuffle set to ‘break hearts’
Energy portfolio most sought-after
Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin and a key figure of the Sam Mitr faction in the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) says there will be “some broken hearts” as a result of the cabinet reshuffle this month.
Commenting on the prospects of some key figures of the PPRP failing to secure their desired cabinet posts, Mr Somsak said on Sunday this could have some bearing on their work in the parliament, but there should be no problem after talks are held to clear the air.
“Those who will miss out in the upcoming reshuffle are like someone with a broken heart. They may be shocked, but in a few weeks’ time they will recover. They should cope fast because they have experience of several reshuffles in the past,” Mr Somsak said.
On speculation that the post of deputy labour minister would be opened to end the fight for cabinet quotas in the PPRP, Mr Somsak said the appointment of a deputy labour minister is normal and the person who wins the post would help assist workers affected by the economic fall-out of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Currently, the Labour Ministry has only the labour minister in charge, who works without a deputy.
The reshuffle is expected to be complete by the middle of this month.
Of most interest is the energy portfolio, which is expected to be given to an outsider, while Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit, another key figure of Sam Mitr, has denied coveting the post and claimed he is happy working where he is.
Meanwhile, Anusorn Iamsa-ard, a spokesman for the opposition Pheu Thai Party, called on the prime minister to amend the constitution to defuse tensions stemming from student activist protests.
The constitution should be amended to shift from the use of a single ballot for both constituency and party-list MPs to two separate ballots which truly represent voters’ intentions, Mr Anusorn said.
Other provisions targeted for change are those associated with the Senate, particularly Section 269 which enabled the NCPO to appoint 250 senators to serve for five years, leading to accusations they are government yes-men.
These senators are allowed to join MPs in voting for a prime minister, Mr Anusorn said.
In related news, a majority of people agree with the student protests, saying they have the right to free expression in a democracy, according to the result of an opinion survey by Nida Poll.
Asked whether they agreed with the demonstrations, a slight majority — 54% — said “yes”, with 35% voicing strong support and saying they wanted to see change to improve the country, while 19% said they somewhat agreed.
The poll was conducted on 1,250 people aged 18 and over of various levels of education and occupations throughout the country.