Privy Council president Gen Prem Tinsulanonda yesterday extended moral support to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha as he opened his residence to welcome Songkran well-wishers.
Gen Prayut led cabinet ministers and senior armed forces officers to pay their respects to Gen Prem and ask for his blessings to mark the traditional Thai New Year.
"I hope that all the prime minister wants to do for the country and for the people comes true. And I wish everyone honour and pride for your determination to protect our country and bring love and unity to Thais," he said.
Gen Prem thanked his guests for their best wishes on this special occasion and praised Gen Prayut for his efforts to preserve Thai culture.
"Preserving cultural identity is tantamount to protecting the nation. What the prime minister is doing is protecting the country. He has been doing his job as a Thai and deserves to be a role model," he said.
Gen Prayut led his delegation in paying respects by pouring water on the palms of Gen Prem. The prime minister spoke highly of Gen Prem, saying he has made a great contribution to the country and is a role model for him and others to follow.
After the prime minister's delegation, former defence permanent secretary Gen Wanchai Ruangtrakul led hundreds of former cavalry officers to wish Gen Prem a happy Songkran.
Gen Prem, a former cavalryman, urged soldiers to help fight corruption.
At one point in his speech, Gen Prem said a five-year period is deemed an appropriate period to work, without elaborating.
Political observers were quick to link the remark to the five-year transitional period the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) demanded in the charter draft prepared by the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC).
The NCPO's proposal calls for the CDC to introduce an appointed Senate during the five-year post-election transition to full democracy and to reserve six seats for military top brass.
The regime claims appointed senators should work in the transition period to oversee the implementation of national reform and national strategy.