The new head of Thailand's caretaker government, named Saturday by coup leaders, promised to respect the military junta's interim constitution even though he might not agree with parts of it.
On Friday, the junta issued a constitution giving it dominance over the interim cabinet that is supposed to lead Thailand to new elections.New Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun told reporters he would name a mostly civilian government within three or four days. But the Bangkok Post newspaper said junta leaders would get the key interior, defense and communications posts.
Anand, 58, a successful businessman and former diplomat, was appointed prime minister Saturday with the approval of constitutional monarch King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
"He is one of the most capable public figures that we have," said Surin Pitsuwan, a member of the Parliament ousted by the coup. "I think the people will probably feel confident of such a person. However, how much freedom and latitude he will be given is going to be cause for concern."
The junta led by Gen. Sunthorn Kongsompong toppled Prime Minister Chatichai Choonhavan's government on Feb. 23, detained Chatichai and instilled martial law. It created an interim constitution that says Anand's government should hold elections soon, but they can be delayed until the end of March 1992 if a permanent constitution is not ready.
Anand said he would respect the constitution even though parts of it indicated the new administration would be controlled by the military.
He added that Chatichai would be released once the new government was formed.