Thai PM to become first female defence minister of the country

Thai PM to become first female defence minister of the country

Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra today became the first woman to head the kingdom's defence ministry in a cabinet reshuffle.

As defence minister Yingluck claims a seat on Thailand's defence council which appoints army top brass in a nation where the military has carried out numerous coups, the most recent toppling her brother Thaksin Shinawatra in 2006.

Speaking before the reshuffle was announced, Yuthasak Sasiprapha, who was appointed deputy defence minister, said Yingluck would not cause problems with the military.
"She can do it, she can work with the army," he told reporters.

The leadership of the army is due to undergo an annual reshuffle in October. The hugely influential army draws a large budget and is fighting a rebellion in the kingdom's southernmost provinces which has killed more than 5,700 people in nearly a decade.

In the reshuffle which involved 18 Cabinet posts, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubumrung, who had been overseeing security affairs, including the 9-year-old Muslim insurgency in the southern border provinces, was removed from his portfolio and appointed labour minister, a move seen as a demotion.

The former leader of Thaksin's disbanded Thai Rak party, Chaturon Chaisaeng, is now education minister, while another former party member, Paveena Hongsakul, a women's and children's rights advocate, takes over the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security's top post.

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