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Thai premier unveils new Cabinet

world Updated: Dec 20, 2008 22:03 IST

Thailand's prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Saturday unveiled his Cabinet and appointed a supporter of the protesters who sieged the capital's airport for a week recently, which brought down the country's economy.

Abhisit, who came to power after the earlier government had to step down on a constitutional court's orders, announced the lineup after Thailand's revered king Bhumibol Adulyadej endorsed him as country's new prime minister.

Thailand's third premier in four months, Abhisit appointed 64-year-old career diplomat Kasit Piromya as his Foreign Minister.

Analysts were critical of the naming Kasit, a former ambassador to the US, Japan, Germany, Indonesia and the former Soviet Union, as the Foreign Minister.

Kasit, a supporter of the anti-government protesters who occupied the prime minister's office compound for three months and then blockaded Bangkok's two airports last month, will be sworn in with along with other ministers on Monday.

However, it remains to be seen how the new lineup will soothe the political turmoil in the country as it stands divided between the supporters of former premier Thaksin Shinawatara and the other side comprising his opponents.

Abhisit used to head the opposition Democrat Party. Korn Chatikavanij (44) was appointed as the finance minister. He is a former investment banker who headed Thailand's office of JP Morgan Chase & Co from 1999-2004.

The Democrat Party's secretary-general 59-year-old Suthep Thaugsuban was appointed as deputy prime minister and would oversee security matters.

A former Thaksin supporter, Chavarat Charnvirakul (72), joined the Democrats and was named as the Interior Minister.

The Defence portfolio will be overseen by Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, 63, Thailand's army commander from 2004-2005.