PM asks Thais to be patient
Democratic path 'may be slow without S44'
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has asked the Thai people to be patient with his new government as it has no sweeping special powers, unlike its predecessor over the previous five years.
As a result, it may be slow in solving problems and responding to public needs, said Gen Prayut who is starting his second term as prime minister.
He was speaking on Monday as he delivered a speech broadcast nationwide that marked the end of the tenure of the coup-installed government and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).
Gen Prayut said democratic rule has now been fully established in the country after the House of Representatives was elected and the new government formed, he said.
He added that rights and liberties will be safeguarded under the constitution and problems will be resolved through democratic procedures rather than special powers.
"Even though this way may be slow to respond to the needs of some groups of people due to constraints imposed by the laws, politics and budgets, and the need to listen to different opinions, it still follows democratic procedures," Gen Prayut said.
"All sides have to learn to co-exist peacefully, exercise patience, restraint, avoid conflict, be sensible and disciplined and respect the voice of the majority," he said.
He said that the new government will assume its duties this month after it announces its policy statement in parliament as required by the constitution.
Gen Prayut said the new government will carry on with measures to solve problems with the economy, falling crop prices, social issues, improve people's quality of life, and expedite budget spending in line with the government policy statement, the national strategy and the constitution.
He also said that the NCPO has achieved success on several fronts as a result of hard work, patience and sacrifices during the past five years in power.
He added that joint efforts by the outgoing government, the NCPO and the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) will provide a foundation for the new administration.
The new government belongs to all Thais, without preferential treatment given to any particular provinces or regions, he insisted.
On July 9, Gen Prayut invoked the last order under the sweeping powers of Section 44 to abrogate 67 orders issued by the NCPO. Sixty-five remain in effect.
The last Section 44 order also resulted in the lifting of media restrictions and effectively transferred all cases involving offences against the NCPO's orders to civilian courts.
Cabinet secretary-general Theerapong Wongsiwawilas said on Monday the swearing-in ceremony at the Ambara Villa in Dusit Palace had been rescheduled from 6pm to 5pm today.
Gen Prayut chaired the last meeting of the cabinet handpicked by the NCPO on Monday, but refused to give details of the agenda. He said only that one of the issues involved problems related to farmers.
Monday was also Gen Prawit Wongsuwon's last day as defence minister. He will retain only the role as a deputy prime minister in the new government. Prime Minister Gen Prayut has taken the defence portfolio for himself.
Gen Prawit chaired his last meeting of the Defence Council on Monday, after the final cabinet meeting at Government House.
He kept silent on a report that he would oversee the Energy Ministry, saying Gen Prayut had not yet delegated tasks to his deputy premiers.