Minister of Defense Wongsawat Somchai of Thailand

Somchai is converting a terminal at Bangkok's domestic Don Mueang airport into temporary offices for the more than 2,000 staffers who normally work at Government House, which has been besieged by protesters for more than three weeks.
Somchai was voted in as premier by parliament Wednesday.
Somchai was a respected career bureaucrat and former judge before entering public life.
Somchai was banned from politics for five years.
Somchai had become increasingly isolated in recent weeks.
Somchai said he was ready to become prime minister to head a government that works for the benefit of people and nation.
The nomination of Somchai is expected to be presented to the House of Representatives for a voting on Wednesday.
Somchai is brother-in-law of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, but is considered as having a compromising manner, with better relationship with the opposition Democrat Party.
When asked by journalists how the government would handle with various corruption cases against Thaksin if elected, Somchai said that everything will go on in line with law, and that the government would not protect any individual's interest.
Somchai has said he or the new government was no one's nominee.
After the premiership of Samak Sundaravej had been terminated by the ConCourt for contravening the conflict of interests law, Somchai was successfully nominated Prime Minister.
Somchai was born at Amphoe Chawang, Changwat Nakhon Si Thammarat, the son of Mr Choem (Thai: เจิม) and Mrs Dap (Thai: ดับ) Wongsawat.
Somchai has been appointed to various offices in the juridical service and the civil service, including inter alia: assistant judge of the Ministry of Justice in 1974, ministerial justice in the next year, justice of Chiang Mai's Provincial Court in 1976, justice of Chiang Mai in 1978, justice of Chiang Rai in 1983, chief of the Bench of Phang Nga's Provincial Court in 1986, chief of the Children and Juvenile Court of Rayong in 1987, chief of Chon Buri's Provincial Court in 1988 and of Nonthaburi's Provincial Court in the next year, and chief of the Bench of Thon Buri's Criminal Court in 1990, respectively.
In 1998 Somchai was appointed as the Deputy Permanent Secretary of Justice for Academic Affairs, and later for Administrative Affairs.
Somchai has been since appointed inter alia chairperson of the law committee of the National Research Council of Thailand, member of the Thai Bar Association's committee, member of the Board of Thailand's Electricity Generation Authority, member of the Board of the Narcotics Prevention and Suppression Board, member of the Money Laundering Prevention and Suppression Board, member of the committee of the Council of State of Thailand, member of the Board of Policy of the National Thai Police, member of the Civil Service Board of Thailand, member of the Juridicial Service Board of Thailand, and member of the National Official Information Board of Thailand.
Members of the National Counter Corruption Commission said Somchai was wrong to suspend a corruption investigation into two senior officials while he was a permanent secretary at the justice ministry in 2000.
Somchai was ratified by the National Assembly of Thailand as Prime Minister of Thailand on the 17th September, winning 298 votes against 163 votes for Abhisit Vejjajiva.
Mr Somchai was already acting prime minister after his predecessors resignation.
Mr Somchai's government is expected to face continued opposition because Mr Somchai is married to Mr Thaksin's sister, says the BBC's Jonathan Head in Bangkok.
Mr Somchai said that there was no denying his family connections but that he would "do things the right way" to show his "sincerity in trying to solve our problems.
With the formality of a parliamentary vote behind him, the immediate task now confronting Mr Somchai is to get the government functioning again, our correspondent says.
Mr Somchai accepted the court's verdict, saying he was now "an ordinary citizen.
61-year-old Somchai has long-time experience in judicial field, serving as judge for more than 20 years.
9, which found him in breach of the charter by hosting TV cooking shows while in office, Somchai was appointed as acting premier to head the caretaker government.
Somchai is known for his close relationship with the family of ex-Premier Thaksin Shinwatra.
The Constitution Court has not only dissolved the People Power Party, it has also banned him and other 36 party executives from politics for five years.
The political life in Thailand has taken a huge turn that can push the country into further chaos.
Though Somchai has sought to downplay his ties to Thaksin, his election as prime minister will likely not be good enough for PAD to end its protests.
Even Democrat Party's secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban said a few days ago that Somchai was the best compared to other PPP candidates - PPP deputy leader Sompong Amornwiwat and Secretary-general Surapong Suebwonglee.
He said Somchai had never defended Thaksin despite their family connection and that his decency should be almost guaranteed because of his former jobs as judge and permanent secretary of justice.
Somchai was education minister and became the acting prime minister after Samak Sundaravej was disqualified from office last week Tuesday, when a Constitution Court found him guilty of violating the constitution.
Somchai was married to Yaowapa, the younger sister of former prime minister Thaksin.
Somchai was justice permanent secretary from 1999 to 2006, and then became permanent secretary for the Labour Ministry.
In 2003, when Somchai was permanent secretary of justice, he made headlines for conflicting with then-justice minister Purachai Piumsombun over the ministry's budget.
Mr Somchai said he was ready for public scrutiny.
Mr Somchai said he was not thinking about ''taking back'' Government House from the People's Alliance for Democracy demonstrators.
PM Somchai is caught in a dilemma.
Somchai is married to Thaksin's sister, and had been acting as prime minister since a constitutional court stripped Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej of power.
ImplicationsSomchai has close family ties to the ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the very issue that led the PAD to campaign for Samak’s removal.
Somchai: A New Chapter for Thailand?Somchai is the brother-in law of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Somchai is a former judge, having served as justice permanent secretary from 1999 to 2006, and later acted as education minister in Samak’s cabinet.
While Somchai has vowed to distance himself from the former premier and to allow the corruption trials to go ahead unhindered, many believe it will be virtually impossible for him to cut his ties with him completely.
Ultimately, the election of Somchai is not likely to solve the standoff with the PAD, as he embodies all the same perceived flaws that characterised Samak.
The mild-mannered Somchai has also worked as a judge and has more than two decades of experience as a senior bureaucrat, having held the highest ranking positions at Thailand’s justice and labour ministries.
score: 10Blasts hit Bangkok as protests continueCNN 6 weeks ago A pair of explosions injured dozens of people in Bangkok early Sunday, as protests against the Thai government continued.
I will do my best to resolve the ongoing problems, Mr Somchai said at a news conference last night, flanked by representatives of the five parties in the governing coalition.
Mr Somchai was education minister and became the acting prime minister after Mr Samak was forced from office last Tuesday when a court found him guilty of violating the constitution by accepting pay for hosting TV cooking shows.
Somchai says national reconciliation will be his priority, after weeks of anti-government protests.
Somchai was backed by 298 lawmakers in the House of Representatives.
Somchai has been acting prime minister since last week, when Samak Sundaravej was forced to step aside after a court found him guilty of a conflict of interest.
The government is not formed to protect any particular party, but it is formed to serve the public and I will do my best to resolve the ongoing problems," Somchai said at a yesterday night news conference, flanked by leaders of the other five coalition parties.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Democrat Party said it had urged the PPP to review its decision, as Mr Somchai was linked to Mr.