Here is how our newsroom rates Abhisit Vejjajiva and his key ministers (on a score of 1 to 10):
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. Say whatever you want about him, but if it had been anybody else (from the anti-Thaksin camp), what has been written in The Economist and Wall Street Journal etc would sound like Christmas music to our ears compared with what they would have been writing now. His youthful charm, eloquence and decent image has bought crucial breathing space for his government and for himself.
Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij. Promising with still-unblemished integrity, but untested. The Oxford graduate grew up knowing the capital market inside and out, and has often demonstrated well-rounded economic knowledge. Having spent most of his working life in the private sector, his lack of a political baptism could be a double-edged sword. With internal politics still volatile and a huge economic storm zeroing on the Kingdom, the jury is still out. He may rise to the occasion or be proved the right man at the wrong time.
Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya. He is to Abhisit what Joey Barton is to Newcastle United. Whereas the player with the highly questionable temperament is always booed by opposition fans, Kasit threatens to become the Thai government's loose cannon on the centre stage. Describing the Suvarnabhumi Airport closure as a Thai way of making democratic progress - a somewhat fun incident with good food and open-air concerts - is the boldest political and diplomatic statement bar none. It left Western embassies, which jointly condemned the airport shutdown, too stunned to react.
Rating: 5 (This takes into account the fact that Noppadon Pattama was in the same position just a few months ago).
Commerce Minister Pornthiva Nakasai. She's among the Cabinet names that inspired the least confidence. Obviously a nominee from the Bhum Jai Thai camp, whose only known background in trade is probably her association with the nightlife business. The woman with a virtually zero international profile will be up against a flurry of complicated global trade issues next year. Will she become a deer in the headlights when countries start adopting protective, hardline stands to save their own interests amid what could be a full-scale global crisis?
Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan. The former Army commander-in-chief joins Kasit an appointment that can only weaken Abhisit's national reconciliation agenda. With the top armed forces' positions mostly occupied by anti-Thaksin generals, why was it necessary to give the defence portfolio to another man in uniform known for political bias? Having said that, a politically neutral military figure is hard to come by at the moment.
Transport Minister Sophon Saram. He will be one of the most-watched ministers because of his close connections to Newin Chidchob and all the lucrative projects lining up at his ministry. The real worry for Abhisit.
Education Minister Jurin Laksanavisit. He is tasked with reviving the importance of something that has received only lip service and suffered the most from the political crisis. A decent man for the job.
Science Minister Kalaya Sophonpanich. A rare case of a Cabinet job matching one's qualifications. With an education background in nuclear physics, long known to be keen on alternative energies such as bio-diesel, and widely accepted for her involvement in various initiatives by organisations under the ministry, she seems to have good credentials. A cautious stand on nuclear power plants will keep both advocates and opponents equally unsettled.
Interior Minister Chavarat Charnveerakul. A decorative quota man appointed to the key post under the excuse that a blatantly pro-Democrat interior minister would endanger Abhisit's reconciliation plan. With the deep South still burning, this is another questionable appointment.
Information and Communications Technology Minister Ranongruk Suwanchawee. She was one of the reasons why former PM Samak Sundaravej conceded that his Cabinet was "ugly". Switching her from the Finance Ministry to the ICT Ministry this time is unlikely to change things for Abhisit.