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Thailand's post-coup cabinet sworn in
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12:44, February 07, 2008

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The King of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej on Wednesday endorsed the cabinet led by newly-elected Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, which officially put in place the first elected government after the Sept. 19 military coup in 2006.

Samak and 35 cabinet ministers were sworn in before the King at the royal residence in central Bangkok -- Chitralada Palace in late afternoon after the cabinet list was endorsed by the King.

The 80-year-old King gave a short speech to the new ministers, urging them to work with honesty, as they have vowed to do, for the interest of the nation and not to let down the people who hold great expectation on it.

"63 million people (of Thailand) are relying on the ministers to work for their interest. It's an uphill mission but I believe you can do it for the people and they won't be disappointed."

"May you follow your oath and be honest for the sake of the country's happiness," the highly-revered monarch told the country's 57th cabinet.

The new government, a coalition of six parties led by Samak's People Power Party (PPP), took form after a general election was held in Dec. 23 last year, the first elected government after a military coup ousted the former administration of Thaksin Shinawatra on Sept. 19, 2006.

The new cabinet has seen key members of the PPP, which was seen in Thailand as the new banner for the now dissolved Thai Rak Thai Party, the former ruling party founded by Thaksin, take key posts in the new cabinet.

The new PM, PPP leader Samak concurrently assumes the post of Defence Minister.

The Samak-led cabinet has six deputy prime ministers, namely Somchai Wongsawat, Surapong Suebwonglee, Suwit Khunkitti, Ana Kachornparsart, Sahas Bunditkul and Mingkwan Sangsuwan.

Somchai, Surapong, Sahas, and Mingkwan all belong to the PPP, while Suwit is leader of the Puea Pandin Party (For the Motherland Party), and Ana is deputy leader of the Chart Thai Party (Thai Nation Party).

Somchai is also Education Minister, while Surapong is Finance Minister, Mingkwan Commerce Minister and Suwit is Industry Minister.

At a press conference at Government House after the swear-in ceremony, Samak, formerly known for his outspoken and tough style facing media, said he would from now on be friendly and "talk sweetly" to the press.

Samak has scheduled the first meeting of the new cabinet on Friday. It is expected that the cabinet will discuss the government 's policy statement to be submitted to the House of Representatives for deliberations.

Source: Xinhua

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