The ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) may come up with alternative candidates for prime minister in the next general election, Gen Prawit Wongsuwon said on Tuesday.
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit, as the PPRP leader, was asked whether the party would nominate him as the candidate for prime minister now that other parties had unveiled their prime ministerial candidates in the next general election.
"Gen Prayut (Chan-o-cha) is the candidate. I have said this for a long time. Don't ask again," he said.
Asked whether the party would have alternative candidates in case Gen Prayut had a problem with his eight-year tenure as prime minister, Gen Prawit said: "I don't know yet. Maybe."
Asked whether the second and third alternative candidates would be civilians, Gen Prawit again said, "I don't know yet."
He shook his head and walked away when asked whether he would himself be nominated as a prime ministerial candidate.
Gen Prayut's tenure as prime minister has remained controversial.
According to the military-sponsored 2017 constitution, a prime minister's tenure is capped at a maximum of eight years.
Gen Prayut, who staged a coup that ousted an elected government in 2014, has run the country for more than seven years. By Aug 24 this year he will have been in power for a full eight years.
But his four-year term from the 2019 election will end in 2023.
Gen Prayut's tenure has caused a debate: when should the counting begin? His opponents and the pro-democracy movement are adamant that he should step down this year when his eight-year tenure is complete.