Thai cabinet divides responsibilities among three remaining deputy prime ministers

THAILAND - Court has removed four of them under the abuse-of-power case related to the transfer of National Security Council chief Thawil Pliensri.

The deputy PMs who lost their jobs were Kittiratt Na-Ranong, Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Plodprasop Suraswadi and Pracha Promnog, while Niwattumrong, Phongthep Thepkanjana and Yukol Limlamthong, have been left behind holding the reins.

Phongthep said the Cabinet had assigned Niwattumrong to take over Kittiratt's responsibilities as finance minister as well as overseeing the Defence Ministry. Niwattumrong is also commerce minister.

Phongthep also explained that the acting prime minister had been asked to function as deputy defence minister, in place of General Yuthasak Sasiprapha, who was also removed.

He said the Office of the Council of State was studying the Constitutional Court's ruling to determine whether former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra could remain as defence minister. The court's ruling on Wednesday said she had to step down as PM, but it did not mention her Defence portfolio.

Meanwhile, Yukol, who is also agriculture minister, was asked to take over the responsibilities of Plodprasop. Phongthep has been given the duties of Pracha and Surapong.

Phongthep said he was also in charge of the Centre for Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) in place of former labour minister Chalerm Yoobamrung, who also oversaw the centre.