Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has vowed to serve the country, people and His Majesty the King after being royally appointed the prime minister of Thailand for a second term.
The royal appointment ceremony took place at about 1.30pm in the presence of members of the 18 coalition parties at the Pakdibodin building in Government House's compound.
Sorasak Pienvej, secretary-general of the House, delivered the royal command. Gen Prayut remained the 29th prime minister of Thailand as his second four-year term started.
After receiving the royal command, Gen Prayut said he was grateful to His Majesty and would work for the King and people.
"I affirm that I will dedicate myself to public service with honesty and integrity in pursuit of the greater good of the country and the people of Thailand. I will listen to the voices of the people while fulfilling my duty to move forward and develop the country in all economic and social aspects," Gen Prayut said.
He promised to help the poor, develop human resources, promote national unity and let people of the new generation take part in national development.
He also thanked coalition parties for their support.
Before the ceremony, Gen Prayut told reporters that the new cabinet would be formed soon.
"There will be discussions. Suitability will be considered and compromises must be made. The benefits of the country and people will be the priority," he said.
After the new cabinet is sworn in, his power under Section 44 of the interim constitution in his capacity as the chief of the National Council for Peace and Order would end, Gen Prayut said.
While his government is set to serve a four-year term, Gen Prayut will likely continue to be prime minister for the next eight years — until 2027 — thanks to the full support he has from 250 NCPO-appointed senators. The senators serve a five-year term to June 2024, so they will be able to join the vote for prime minister at least one more time.
If the results of the next election are similar to those of the March 24 poll and the senators' support for him remain unwavering, Gen Prayut will likely serve another four-year term, bringing his term to 13-14 years in total — more than five under the NCPO's powers and eight more through elections under the 2017 Constitution. Even if he loses a series of no-confidence debates, the senators are likely to join with a minority in the House to vote him back in.