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ACT party leader says PM’s Office portfolio acceptable

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Mom Ratchawongse Chatumongol Sonakul, leader of Action Coalition for Thailand (ACT), the party founded on behalf of Suthep Thaugsuban, said Thursday that he doesn’t mind accepting the post of PM’s Office minister instead of foreign minister, which he had been tipped to get.

Chatumongol was reacting to speculation that he would be given the post of PM’s Office minister in the new Cabinet of Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha. Initially, it was speculated that Chatumongol, a former governor of the Bank of Thailand, would be given the post of foreign minister.
Chatumongol, who is party-list MP of his party, said it would be fine for him to be given any post because his party did not put any conditions for joining the Phalang Pracharat-led coalition government.
He said his party simply wanted to help the work of Prayut and his believed that the negotiators of the two parties have done their best in allocating a Cabinet seat to his party.
He said he submitted a form verifying his qualifications without stating which post he would be appointed to.
Chatumongol said he used to help a PM’s Office minister when he was a member of a working panel of the Council of State and he was well aware that the work such a post entails would not be easy.
He said he has learned from reports that there would be two PM’s Office ministers and did not know how the responsibilities would be shared between them.
Commenting on the perception that the post of PM’s Office minister would not be appropriate for him as he used to work as the central bank governor, Chatumongol said he would have no problem working in the post if the prime minister felt it was appropriate for him.
“I believe the prime minister is able to consider which job is appropriate for me,” Chatumongol said.
He said he supported the incumbent Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai to remain in the post because Don had shown a “good performance” in holding the Asean summit. He said the same foreign minister should continue while Thailand was the chair of Asean.
“I will be surprised if the post is changed,’ Chatumongol added.
He added that he would consult the party as to whether he should vacate his party-list MP seat for another candidate in the list.
That proposal might be useful in ensuring that the number of coalition MPs present in the assembly hall would not be affected. There is concern that House meetings could be disrupted if ministers, who are also MPs, are busy with work outside given that the Prayut coalition has only a slim majority.

Published : July 04, 2019

By : The Nation