Thailand PM wants to groom successor in two years

Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is not throwing in the political towel just yet, he wants another couple of years at the helm before grooming a successor.

PM Prayut seized power in a 2014 military coup, was reelected in a disputed election in 2019, and bizarrely had to stand down in August this year after the Constitutional Court of Thailand (CCT) suspended him from duties pending a court case on whether he had exceeded the eight-year, two-term limit for the office of prime minister. But on September 30, the CCT ruled that he had not exceeded his constitutional term limit for the office and he returned to power.

After such a turbulent time in office, certainly this year, many would have predicted a move to retirement but that’s not the case at all.

Today Gen Prayut told the Thai press that he wants to remain as PM for another two years and then find a suitable successor. A strange statement, given he could be out of power in next May’s general election. Maybe the Thai leader knows something the rest of the electorate doesn’t know.

“If I am able to remain as the prime minister, I will do so only until 2025. I will do my best and then find a suitable and acceptable successor.”

While the speculation over the 68 year old’s premiership continued over the summer, so too were rumours that he was about to leave the Phalang Pracharat Party to join another political party. That rumour has not gone away.

When asked whether he would join the newly established United Thai Nation Party (UTN), also known as Ruam Thai Sang Chart, Gen Prayut said…

“It should have been clear by now. I simply haven’t spoken about it. I will speak about it later.”

Make of that what you will.

The UTN was founded in March last year by Seksakol Atthawong, a former aide to the Prayut

If Gen Prayut win’s next year’s general election he can only remain in office until 2025 according to a Constitutional Court ruling.

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Bob Scott

Bob is a published author with over 25 years experience as a journalist.