2006 Thai interim civilian government
The 2006 Thai interim civilian government is the Thai provisional civilian government headed by Interim Prime Minister General Surayud Chulanont. It was appointed on 1 October 2006 by the Council for National Security, the initial post-coup interim military government led by General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, which had overthrown the government of Thaksin Shinawatra in a coup on 19 September 2006. The interim government operated under an interim constitution, promulgated that same day.
On 19 September 2006 the Thai military staged a coup against the government of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, suspended the Constitution, cancelled upcoming elections, and dissolved Parliament. The junta later appointed General Surayud Chulanont as Prime Minister of an interim civilian government, promulgated an interim charter, and changed its name to the Council for National Security.
Selection of the Prime Minister
Unselected candidate: Chatumongol Sonakul
After the coup, Air Chief Marshal Chalit Pookpasuk, CDRM vice-president, said that more than five candidates were being considered for the post of interim prime minister, though none of them had been approached yet. Chalit said the CDRM would favour a lawyer since political reform is the priority of the CDRM's goal. Economists could be brought in as cabinet ministers to take charge of national economy.
Former central bank governor Mom Rajawongse Chatumongol Sonakul was tipped as interim prime minister because he is knowledgeable about economic issues. Some CDRM leaders had reservations about Chatumongol, who gained a reputation for being outspoken and intolerant during his long years as a technocrat at the Finance Ministry and Bank of Thailand (BoT). Chatumongol previously served as the permanent secretary for finance from 1 October 1995 to 28 July 1997 and was dismissed by the Chavalit Yongchaiyudh government. Named on 7 May 1998, governor of the Bank of Thailand by Tarrin Nimmanhaeminda, Chuan Leekpai government's finance minister, Chatumongol was later sacked on 30 May 2001 by the Thaksin Shinawatra government.
Unselected candidate: Ackaratorn Chularat
Ackaratorn Chularat, president of the Supreme Administrative Court, was always considered unlikely to be named interim prime minister because his knowledge of economics is regarded as limited, and he is not widely known in the international community.
Unselected candidate: Pridiyathorn Devakula
M.R. Pridiyathorn Devakula, at the time the current governor of the BoT, has the banking and business community's favour, and was seen as a strong contender.
Unselected candidate: Supachai Panitchpakdi
Supachai Panitchpakdi (Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) was also previously rumored to have been short-listed for the post.
Selected candidate: General (ret.) Surayud Chulanont
Privy Councilor and former boss of junta leader Sonthi Boonyaratkalin Surayud Chulanont also emerged as a strong candidate for Premier. Panithan Wattanayakorn of Chulalongkorn University called Surayud the most feasible choice, noting that "He is also recognised internationally. Time magazine ran a story about him on its front page once and dubbed him an Asian hero." Suriyasai Katasila, leader of the People's Alliance for Democracy also said that Surayud was the strongest candidate. Privy Council President Gen Prem Tinsulanonda, Surayud's former boss, was seen to be in a cheerful mood after reports gained ground that Gen Surayud might be named interim prime minister. During a nationally televised press conference General Sondhi Boonyaratkalin reaffirmed wanting to install a new civilian prime minister "as soon as possible" but was still narrowing down candidates for the job. He did not rule out a former soldier for the temporary role, "When you say civilian prime minister, you will see that soldiers after they retire can be called civilians," hinting at the former Army commander Surayud.
On 1 October, the military junta officially named Surayud as interim Prime Minister. The leaders also announced an interim constitution to take effect immediately until a new permanent constitution is drafted and signed by the King of Thailand. This temporary charter includes provisions giving amnesty for the military junta and all others under its command.
Selection of government ministers
Surayud 1/1 - The cabinet sworn in by the King on 9 October 2006.
Surayud 1/2 - Two ministers have been added to the Cabinet. The two new ministers have been appointed and sworn in on 18 November 2006.
|Minister attached to the Prime Minister’s Office||Mr. Prasit Kovilaikul|
|Deputy Minister of Finance||Mr. Sommai Phasee|
Surayud 1/3 - Two ministers have been added to the Cabinet. The two new ministers have been appointed and sworn in on 2 February 2007.
|Deputy Minister of Commerce||Mrs. Oranuch Osathanugroh|
|Deputy Minister of Education||Mr. Varakorn Samkoset|
Surayud 1/4 - One minister announced his resignation, one minister received additional responsibility and three ministers have been added to the Cabinet. The resigned minister announced his resignation on 28 February 2007, effective the following day. The minister (received additional responsibility) and the new three new ministers have been appointed and sworn in on 7 March 2007.
|Resignation from Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance||M.R. Pridiyathorn Devakula|
|Deputy Prime Minister||Mr. Paiboon Wattanasiritham|
|Minister of Finance||Mr. Chalongpob Susangkarn|
|Deputy minister of Social Development and Human Security||Mr. Poldej Pinprateep|
|Deputy minister of Public Health||Mr. Morakot Kornkasem|
On 21 May 2007, One minister resigned from the cabinet, due to health reasons.
|Resignation from Minister attached to the Prime Minister’s Office||Mr. Prasit Kovilaikul|
On September/October 2007, Five members of the Cabinet resigned after named by the National Counter Corruption Commission as holding company shares of over 5 percent, which is in violation with the 2000 anti-graft law.
|Resignation from Minister of Information and Communication Technology||Mr. Sitthichai Pokai-udom|
|Resignation from Deputy Minister of Commerce||Mrs. Oranuch Osathanugroh|
|Resignation from Minister of Interior||Mr. Aree Wong-araya|
|Resignation from Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs||Mr. Sawanit Kongsiri|
|Resignation from Minister of Natural Resource and Environment||Mr. Kasem Sanitwong Na Ayutthaya|
Surayud 1/5 - After five ministers resigned cabinet, one minister received additional responsibility and one minister has been added to the Cabinet. The new minister has been appointed and sworn in on 2 October 2007. The minister who received additional responsibility has been appointed and sworn in on 3 October 2007. Additional responsibilities were given to current ministers.
|Minister of Interior||General Surayud Chulanont|
|Deputy Prime Minister||General Sonthi Boonyaratglin|
|Acting Minister of Information and Communication Technology||Mr. Kosit Panpiemras|
|Acting Minister of Natural Resource and Environment||Mr. Yongyuth Yuthawongse|
Civil service appointments
On Wednesday 27 September the Judicial Commission chaired by Supreme Court President Charnchai Likhitchittha approved the promotion of Jaral Pakdeekul, Secretary-General of the Supreme Court President, to become the Permanent Secretary for Justice Ministry. Jaral replaced retiring Permanent Secretary Charupong Ruangsuwan.
Role of the junta
On Tuesday, 26 September 2006, junta leader Sonthi Boonyaratglin said that the junta would remain in place after the appointment of an interim civilian government, noting "It's necessary to keep the council so that there is no loophole for the executive branch."
Following general elections and the establishment of a new civilian government, the junta would be dissolved and replaced by a permanent "Council of National Security" (CNS) whose future role in Thai politics has not yet been explained. It was later revealed that the interim charter would give the junta significant control over the interim civilian government.
- The junta would appoint the Prime Minister and would sit in Cabinet meetings
- The junta would appoint the entire legislature
- The junta would appoint a 2,000 person National Assembly, which would name 200 candidates for a 100-person "Constitutional Drafting Committee". This committee would in turn select 25 members to write a permanent constitution, in addition to 10 persons directly appointed by the Junta.
The government worked with a junta-appointed parliament. The 242-member legislature was widely criticized for being dominated by military leaders. Critics called it a "rubber stamp", a "chamber of generals" full of "[Privy Councilor President and key coup backer] Prem's sons."
While US$24 million (Bt902 million) was in suspended military assistance, United States Ambassador to Thailand Ralph Boyce met with Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont in what was billed as a gesture of goodwill by a key ally on Surayud first day at the office.
- "Chatumongol tipped as PM", Bangkok Post, 23 September 2006
- "Supachai 'to discuss terms' for PM's post" Archived 22 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine, The Nation, 26 September 2006
- "Warning from Suryud: Thaksin's return 'a threat'" Archived 12 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine, The Nation, 28 September 2006
- "Surayud leads nominees for PM" Archived 29 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Bangkok Post, 27 September 2006
- "Pridiyathorn out of contention for interim PM; prominent pro-democracy citizens picked to advise, boost confidence" Archived 9 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine, The Nation, 27 September 2006
- "Surayud Chulanont named Thailand's new Prime Minister" Archived 30 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine, Phuket Post, 1 October 2006
- "Thai military authority announces interim constitution", People's Daily, 1 October 2006
- "Kraisak set for Foreign portfolio" Archived 11 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine, The Nation, 21 September 2006
- "Jaral approved as new permanent secretary for Justice", The Nation, 27 September 2006
- "Thai junta to work alongside new PM: coup leader" Archived 12 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine, The Nation, 26 September 2006
- "Military set to publish interim constitution" Archived 12 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Bangkok Post, 25 September 2006
- "Interim charter draft" Archived 6 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine, The Nation, 27 September 2006
- The Nation, NLA 'doesn' t represent' all of the people Archived 2 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine, 14 October 2006
- The Nation, Assembly will not play a major role Archived 16 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine, 14 October 2006
- "The Nation: US ambassador first to pay Surayud a visit, October 3 2006"
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