November 24, 2017 / 3:10 PM / 24 days ago

Thai PM reshuffles cabinet for the fifth time since coup

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has reshuffled his cabinet, a statement published in the Royal Gazette said on Friday, the fifth change in his administration since he took power in 2014.

Prayuth, a former army chief, seized power in a bloodless May 2014 coup following months of street protests that led to the ousting of Prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her civilian government.

Prayuth switched or appointed 18 ministers, deputy ministers and deputy prime ministers, according to a list published in the Royal Gazette, which was endorsed by Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

The highest-level changes include the country’s ministers of commerce, agriculture, energy, labor, and tourism.

It was not immediately clear what impact the reshuffle would have.

The reshuffle was to improve some ministerial positions for the benefit of the country’s administration, the statement said. The reshuffle follows the resignation of a labor minister.

The cabinet has 36 members, and the latest changes cut members from the army to nine, including Prayuth, from 12.

Laws passed by the government generally come into force after publication in the Royal Gazette, a public journal.

Prayuth last reshuffled his cabinet in December 2016 following one in August 2015 which was carried out to focus on Thailand’s troubled economy.

The junta has promised a general election in November 2018 to return Thailand to democracy.

Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanath, Pracha Hariraksapitak and Aukkarapon Niyomyat; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by William Maclean

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