New Thailand Cabinet Named

Thailand's first female Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra named her first cabinet on Wednesday.

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Elad Benari,

Israel news photo: Wikimedia Commons

Thailand’s new Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, named her first cabinet on Wednesday, the BBC reported.

The 35-member team is dominated by members of her Pheu Thai party, with some posts going to coalition partners, said the report. The economic portfolios have gone to financially experienced figures that are politically neutral.

Yingluck’s party won an overwhelming victory in last month’s election. Thailand’s youngest and first female prime minister, she is the sister of Thaksin Shinawatra, who was prime minister of Thailand between 2001 and 2006 and was overthrown in a military coup.

According to the BBC, Yingluck’s cabinet is mostly a “play-it-safe” one: The new finance minister, Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala was, until last week, head of Thailand’s financial watchdog. The new defense minister, Yuthasak Sasiprapha, is a former army general whose job will be to build bridges with the military which removed Thaksin Shinawatra from power.

The only surprise nomination in the cabinet, said the BBC, is the new foreign minister. Surapong Towijakchaikul is a man with little known expertise in diplomacy but who is related to the Shinawatras by marriage.

Meanwhile, Yingluck has asked for six months’ grace before her new government is judged. But the BBC report noted that given the turbulent nature of politics in Thailand, it is unlikely her honeymoon will last that long.