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New Thai PM begins building cabinet

Premier Surayud Chulanont has chosen the head of the central bank and a private bank executive for his economic team.

india Updated: Oct 04, 2006 14:42 IST

Thailand's new military-appointed prime minister was putting together his new cabinet on Wednesday while the political power base of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra was fast falling apart.

Premier Surayud Chulanont - a former army chief installed Sunday by the coup leaders - has chosen the head of the central bank and a private bank executive for his economic team and was working to fill other ministries.

The 63-year-old retired general and former royal advisor, who has vowed to place people's happiness before economic growth, was also shoring up popular support today by visiting people in flood-hit areas of central Thailand.

Asked about his new government team before boarding a military helicopter, he remained tight-lipped.

"Please be patient and wait a few days," he told reporters before flying to flooded Angthong province, 100 kmsnorth of Bangkok.

"I think it will be clear by next week and then I will explain the reasons."

While Surayud was hovering above flooded rice fields and towns, members of the ousted Thaksin regime were watching their party disintegrate.

Thaksin, stranded in London since the military takeover, stepped down on Tuesday as leader of the Thai Rak Thai party he founded eight years ago, leaving Thailand's former political powerhouse in disarray.

"I must resign because of the new environment," Thaksin said in a letter faxed to his followers.

First Published: Oct 04, 2006 14:42 IST