Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha speaks to the press after Tuesday's cabinet meeting. He must walk a fine line between national leader and political candidate. (Post Today photo)
After securing Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha as its prime ministerial candidate, the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) is facing the challenge of figuring out how to engage the incumbent PM in its election campaign without causing a backlash.
Gen Prayut is still barred from being fully involved in the party’s electioneering as he continues serving as head of the government. The cabinet last week approved official regulations to govern Prime Minister Prayut’s behaviour during the election campaign to avoid conflict of interest.
Gen Prayut has previously shrugged off calls for him to resign as prime minister after he agreed to accept the prime ministerial nomination. He explicitly expressed his intention to continue working to manage the country’s affairs under a democratic system.
“The party is still discussing and studying related laws to find out whether or not and to what extent Gen Prayut will actually be able to be involved in the party’s election campaigns,” said party leader Uttama Savanayana on Tuesday.
“We have to study the laws very carefully to avoid criticism that the party is gaining advantages over other political parties,” he said. “Since we have nominated Gen Prayut as our prime ministerial candidate, we definitely want him to be involved in the party’s affairs in many ways, be it the party’s policies or electioneering.”
Gen Prayut admitted to the media that he has to exercise utmost caution in every single decision to ensure he strictly abides by Election Commission regulations and other related laws.
“My roles as prime minister and the PPRP’s prime ministerial candidate are two different things,” he said.
Asked about calls for his participation in an election debate with prime ministerial candidates from other parties, Gen Prayut said he will have to mull this over to ensure he won’t breach any regulations or laws by accepting the debate invitation.
However, Gen Prayut insisted he won’t end his role as the host of Sat Phra Racha Su Kan Phatthana Yang Yangyuen, which means “The King’s Philosophy for Sustainable Development”, a television programme that is aired every Friday night.
Actress Savika “Pinky” Chaiyadej on Tuesday won approval from the Criminal Court to remove an electronic monitoring (EM) device she was required to wear after her release from jail on Nov 30 last year.