Top trio aims to bow out 'together'
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon and Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda will bow out with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha if the Constitutional Court rules his eight-year term is over, forcing Gen Prayut's abrupt departure, Gen Anupong said.
Referred to in some circles as the "3 Ps", the generals have relied heavily on each other since the May 22, 2014 coup. Gen Anupong is considered one of the "Ps" as his nickname is Pok.
He was speaking while attending Gen Prawit's 77th birthday party, held on Thursday at the Five Provinces Bordering Forest Preservation Foundation, which Gen Prawit chairs.
Gen Anupong declined to comment on whether Gen Prawit would be physically fit enough to succeed Gen Prayut, but said he was unlikely to be interested despite competently performing all of his duties.
"Uh, uh. I don't think so. No, definitely not, honestly," he replied when asked about the possibility of Gen Prawit taking over as premier, adding the two men would almost certainly leave office together.
He said the three men see no need to put political protégés in place before they leave politics, and that he personally has no interest in contesting the next general elections.
The birthday party was also attended by Gen Prayut, key cabinet ministers and high-level civil servants.
Gen Prayut offered a framed picture of a rooster as a gift, in honour of Gen Prawit's Chinese zodiac sign.
Gen Prawit, meanwhile, was seen wrapping an arm around Gen Anupong's waist as they had their photos taken together at the party.
The gesture was followed by him uttering the following remark: "See, no fights among us."