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Thai king swears in coup leader's cabinet

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Thai king swears in coup leader's cabinet
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha poses for a photo with the new government cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand July 16, 2019. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun   -   Copyright  SOE ZEYA TUN(Reuters)
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BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn on Tuesday swore in the cabinet of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former army chief who seized power in a 2014 coup.

The ceremony came after Prayuth declared an end to more than five years of military rule on Monday, saying that the country must now function as a normal democracy.

“We have to prepare for the next task that is to present the government policies and create a sense of unity for the country, religion, king, and all of us, the people,” Prayuth told reporters after the ceremony.

“Many people have high hope for this government.”

The former junta chief has said the coup was necessary to restore order after six months of street protests and violent clashes when he seized power in 2014. He said on Monday that things were getting back to normal after the March 24 election.

Prayuth stays on as prime minister after being chosen by junta-appointed senate and pro-military legislators under a system that his opponents said was unfair.

Prayuth and his ministers took a group photo together and held their first cabinet meeting at Government House.

It took Prayuth more than a hundred days to form the cabinet, following heated wrangling between his 19 coalition parties that holds a slim majority in parliament.

Critics say the cabinet lineup showed that important government positions went to Prayuth loyalists while potentially lucrative ministerial portfolios were shared among the government coalition partners.

(Reporting by Panu Wongcha-um; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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