Hopefuls assess and prepare to run for prime minister

PHOTO: Former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and former Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak prepare for PM runs. (via Wikimedia)

While the Constitutional Court is mulling over when Prayut Chan-o-cha’s term as prime minister officially ends, with the suspended PM submitting his defence on Thursday, several hopefuls eyeing the premiership have assessed their chances and taken steps in preparation.

The Sang Anakhot Thai Party (translating to “Building Thailand’s Future”) intends to nominate former Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak and has begun preparations to be eligible by resigning from all positions at Saha Pathana Inter-Holding, an investment company where he currently acts as chairman of the board of directors. His resignation went into effect on August 31 when the company stated that he left to pursue other endeavours in a letter of notification to the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

Though they have hinted at Somkid’s nomination, including a Facebook post saying “Please stay tuned for more news,” the official announcement is scheduled for later this month. That declaration may be moved up as the leader of the SATP had promised to announce the candidate before the bill on the election of MPs, currently under review by the Constitutional Court, being enacted into law.

Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who led Thailand from 2008 to 2011 as the leader of the Democrat Party, has been evaluating his chances of regaining the title and admits they’re very slim. He said he was ready to take over the reins and lead Thailand again, but says the other higher-ups in the current government have much more power and leverage to become PM.

He implied that Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, who is currently filling the role of caretaker Prime Minister, as well as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul, are in a much better strategic position to be voted into the top spot as members of the ruling Bhumjaithai Party with their coalition of majority parties. Prawit is more likely than Anutin to snag the PM role.

The two were part of a host of people selected by the military junta that overthrew the government in 2014, and later won a wave of re-elections in the 2019 election that earned Prayut his second term. Abhisit ran as the Democrat Party’s candidate for prime minister in that same election and lost.

Still, the former prime minister is willing to run again and hopes to bring about an amendment to the Constitution that would allow only members of parliament to vote for the prime minister and exclude senators from voting. Supporters of the amendment say that elected members of parliament should be the only ones voting since senators are not elected.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post & Thai Newsroom

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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