Talk of Prawit's possible path to top makes waves

Talk of Prawit's possible path to top makes waves

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha jokes with Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon after an Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) meeting on Dec 8, 2021. (Photo supplied)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha jokes with Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon after an Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) meeting on Dec 8, 2021. (Photo supplied)

Deputy Prime Minister and Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) leader Prawit Wongsuwon could be nominated for prime minister if a political "incident" were to force Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha out of office, according to Gen Wit Devahastin na Ayudhya, leader of the Setthakij Thai Party.

Gen Wit said it is technically possible for parliament to resort to a clause in Section 272 of the constitution which allows it to select an "outsider" if such a problem were to arise.

"Gen Prawit is an appropriate candidate to help the country. He has been working [as a deputy] so he knows what to do," said Gen Wit, the former chairman of the PPRP's strategic committee.

Prawit: Yet to run for PM job

Gen Prawit has yet to be a prime ministerial candidate. The ruling PPRP nominated Gen Prayut as its sole candidate in the 2019 general election.

Talk about a political "incident" has been triggered by a looming censure debate, with the opposition expressing confidence that it can deliver enough no-confidence votes to force Gen Prayut out of office, which would require at least a caretaker replacement or a snap election.

According to Paragraph 2 of Section 272, if parliament fails to select a prime minister from the candidates on the political parties' lists, senators can join MPs in proposing a motion to suspend the rule requiring all prime ministerial candidates to come from those lists.

At least two-thirds of MPs and senators must approve the motion to pave the way for an outsider prime minister to be selected.

Capt Thamanat Prompow, secretary-general of the Setthakij Thai Party, said on Friday that a charter clause allowing parliament to choose an outsider as prime minister should be adopted if Gen Prayut does not survive the censure debate.

However, he said it is too early to discuss the matter because the opposition has yet to file a no-confidence motion.

When asked about the opposition's confidence that it could deliver a knock-out punch in the censure debate, Capt Thamanat said things should become clear after parliament convenes on May 22.

On the subject of whether Gen Prawit could step into the hot seat, he said: "It is up to him and the members of parliament to decide."

Gen Prayut and Gen Prawit on Friday declined to comment on the matter.


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