Ex-WTO chief among four shortlisted for Thai PM

Bangkok, September 23 :

Thai’s new military rulers have drawn up a four-man shortlist for the country’s next premier including former World Trade Organisation head Supachai Panitchpakdi, military sources said.

The list, which also includes senior legal and banking officials, will be sent to King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Wednesday to decide who will replace ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra after Tuesday’s coup, sources said.

The list also features the current Bank of Thailand governor Pridiyathorn Devakula, and the presidents of Thailand’s two top courts, Charnchai Likhitchittha and Akkharathorn Chularat.

Panitchpakdi, the most internationally recognised of the four men, is currently the chairman of the UN Conference on Trade and Development. Junta officials met today for almost three hours to come up with the shortlist and to draw up an interim constitution they said would pave the way for elections due to be held in October next year.

The junta had promised to appoint a new civilian premier within two weeks of the military takeover.

So far the junta has imposed martial law, banned political activities and public gatherings, annulled the constitution and slapped restrictions on the media. It has also assumed

legislative powers after dismissing parliament.

Thai military rulers said they were appointing nine people to a reconstituted corruption commission to investigate wrongdoing by the Thaksin government.

Community radios shut :

BANGKOK: Thailand’s military rulers have silenced more than 100 community radio stations in provinces where ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was most popular, media reports said on Saturday.

Nearly all northern radio stations have been temporarily closed after some broadcast programmes critical of the military coup which on Tuesday toppled Thaksin, Thailand’s prime minister since 2001.

Fifty-four more stations have been temporarily closed in the northeastern provinces Roiet and Amnat Charoen, according to The Nation newspaper. — DPA