Prayut tries to quell 'outsider PM' speculation

Prayut tries to quell 'outsider PM' speculation

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, seen here speaking at Thursday's Otop Fair opening, sought to cool speculation on whether he will become the unelected prime minister after the promised 2017 elections. (Photo by Krit Promsaka na Sakolnakorn)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, seen here speaking at Thursday's Otop Fair opening, sought to cool speculation on whether he will become the unelected prime minister after the promised 2017 elections. (Photo by Krit Promsaka na Sakolnakorn)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has downplayed speculation over who might be the "outsider" prime minister of the next government, saying it is not the time for a "ghost" to make an appearance.

His comments followed a meeting on Thursday of National Legislative Assembly (NLA) members held to sound out what lawmakers' intentions were in drawing up the extra question for the Aug 7 referendum for the Senate to take part in choosing a prime minister.

The result of the meeting -- in which the NLA was expected to declare its stance on the extra question to make it clear whether the Senate should join members of parliament only to select a prime minister or whether it should have the power to jointly pick prime ministerial candidates -- was not announced publicly.

The result is expected to be considered at a meeting between the NLA members and the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) Friday, which will alter the draft charter in line with the extra question.

Gen Prayut said Thursday people should stop being curious about who could become an outsider prime minister after the next general election as it is not the time to speculate about the issue.

"The ghost hasn't arrived. Don't let the ghost loose or let anyone with ill intent damage the country," the prime minister said.

On Wednesday, Gen Prayut said for the first time that he would agree to discuss becoming the next prime minister after an election if there really are no other "good" options.

Before Thursday's NLA meeting CDC deputy chairman Supoj Khaimook said he had not heard any NLA member, including deputy chairman Surachai Liangboonlertchai, speak out in favour of the Senate being able to decide on prime ministerial candidates.

Mr Supoj stressed many issues require careful consideration, such as how to break a political stalemate if prime ministerial candidates to be voted on by both Houses withdraw from the lists of political parties' nominations at the last minute.


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