BANGKOK, Thailand – Thailand's king approved a post-coup Cabinet lineup, media reported Monday, ushering in a caretaker government that is expected to rule the country for one year until elections in October 2007.
The Cabinet was announced in a televised broadcast early Monday on military-run Channel 5 and other major Thai channels.
A government spokesman could not be immediately reached to confirm the list that included 28 ministers serving under Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, who was appointed by the military after the Sept. 19 coup that ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra
Surayud had submitted his Cabinet selections to King Bhumibol Adulyadej and needed a royal endorsement before making the lineup public.
Key posts went to well-respected economists, high-profile civil servants and two retired military officers. The military council that ousted Thaksin accused his government of corruption and is investigating the allegations.
Thailand's central bank chief, Pridiyathorn Devakula, was named finance minister and will also serve as a deputy prime minister for economic matters.
A highly regarded economist with an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, Pridiyathorn helped steer Thailand's economy out of the devastating Asian financial crisis and has been praised for policies that promoted financial stability.
The job of foreign minister went to Nitya Pibulsongkram, a career diplomat who served as an ambassador to the United States and the United Nations and was Thailand's chief negotiator for a Thai-U.S. free trade agreement that stalled during the country's political turmoil.
Retired army general Bunrod Somtad, a longtime friend of Surayud, was named defense minister. The two went to military school together and Bunrod rose to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Both served in the special warfare unit of the army.
According to the road map set out by the coup makers, Surayud's government will rule for about a year, until the new constitution is written and elections can be held.
The military council that led the coup installed Surayud as prime minister on Oct. 1, and he pledged to have his government in place in about a week. He appeared intent on keeping his promise amid mounting criticism of the coup from the international community.
Other key positions went to the executive chairman of Bangkok Bank, Kosit Panpiemras, who was named industry minister and one of two deputy prime ministers. The portfolio of commerce minister was given to Krirkkrai Jirapaet, a former permanent secretary at the ministry.
The military ousted Thaksin while he was on an official trip to attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Last week, in a letter sent from London, he resigned as leader of the ruling Thai Rak Thai party, which he founded, funded and led to three election victories.