Thai king endorses new cabinet weeks after disputed election

BANGKOK, July 11 (NNN-AGENCIES) — Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn has endorsed the new civilian cabinet of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha following a March 24 election, the Royal Gazette said.

The endorsement comes after weeks of discussion, after Prayuth was picked by military-appointed senators and lawmakers who were elected in a vote that his opponents said was rigged.

Prayuth was also named as defence minister. The new finance minister is Uttama Savanayana, leader of the Palang Pracharat Party which backed Prayuth.

Uttama held the industry portfolio in the military government and before that held various positions in the private sector.

Prayuth’s loyalists including Prawit Wongsuwan, Somkid Jatusripitak and Wissanu Krea-ngam remain deputy prime ministers.

Former deputy leader of the military government, Anupong Paochinda, retains his post as interior minister.

But Prayuth shared out some important economic portfolios with other political parties in his coalition government made up of 19 parties.

The Democrat Party took the agriculture and commerce ministries, while the Bhumjaithai Party took the health, transport and tourism portfolios. — NNN-AGENCIES