24 Dec 2008

New Thai cabinet sworn in

6:09 am on 24 December 2008

The king of Thailand has sworn in a new cabinet, with an appeal for peace and order following months of protests.

The BBC reports the cabinet includes some controversial appointments by the new prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva.

New foreign minister Kasit Piromya was an open supporter of anti-government protests that closed the country's main airport last month. Other key ministries have gone to those who defected from the old government, allowing Mr Abhisit to take power.

Mr Abhisit was selected as prime minister by parliament last month, becoming Thailand's third leader in as many months.

He managed to win power after some supporters of former leader Thaksin Shinawatra, who was deposed by the military and remains in exile overseas, defected to side with Mr Abhisit's Democrat Party.

In a televised address King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 81, urged the government to "help each other" and "give the country peace and order".

After the ceremony, Mr Vejjajiva said he would heed the king's words and "bring back harmony" to Thailand. He has pledged to ease political tension and revive the economy.