Non-politician likely to fill Tourism post
An outsider is expected to become the next tourism and sports minister, replacing the late Chumpol Silapa-archa, a well-informed source from the Chart Thai Pattana Party said yesterday.
Chart Thai Pattana politicians trusted by de facto party leader Banharn Silapa-Archa are still serving five-year political bans, so they cannot be selected for the Sports portfolio, the source said. The bans will expire in 11 months.
The source said there are three possible non-politicians outside Chart Thai Pattana whom Banharn may select as the new sports minister.
One is Somsak Phurisrisak, former Suphan Buri governor. According to the source, Banharn pushed Somsak to become deputy Suphan Buri governor and later he was promoted to the governor position with Banharn's support.
Somsak remained as Suphan Buri governor until he retired on September 30, 2012.
The second candidate is Sombat Khuruphan, former permanent secretary for the Tourism and Sports Ministry, the source said.
Sombat is also trusted by Banharn and he is now an assistant to the sports minister.
The third candidate is Suwat Sitthilor, current permanent secretary of the Tourism and Sports Ministry. If Banharn selects Suwat, he will have to resign from the top permanent position before his retirement on September 30.
The source said it was impossible that Banharn would give the position to his brother, Pongpol Adireksarn, who recently joined the Chart Thai Pattana. The source explained the new minister must come under Banharn's control, which Pongpol would not tolerate.
Another source from the party, meanwhile, said Banharn would likely nominate Suwat to lead the Tourism and Sports Ministry, as he has worked closely with Banharn and Chumpol for a long time.
The source, who asked not to be named, also said Banharn would nominate Agriculture Minister Yukol Limlaemthong to succeed Chumpol as deputy prime minister.
Banharn is expected to announce the nominations early next month.
Meanwhile, a source from the coalition-leader Pheu Thai Party said Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra would not take a chance in changing the sports minister by reshuffling ministers from the Pheu Thai quota.
The source said Yingluck would not change her economic ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong and Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, now.
"At the moment, the government is pushing ahead key policies, such as the national strategies and the 2014 budget bill, and the bill to borrow Bt2 trillion for investment in infrastructures. So, the prime minister will need the economic team, especially Kittiratt. As a result, nothing will be changed for now," the source said.