Prawit granted full powers as PM

Prawit granted full powers as PM

Prawit: Can now make top appointments, budget moves
Prawit: Can now make top appointments, budget moves

The cabinet yesterday issued a resolution entrusting Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon with the full prime ministerial powers including authorising high-level appointments and passing budgetary decisions.

Normally, an acting prime minister is not given the powers to oversee senior appointments and make key budgetary decisions and must still consult with the prime minister first.

However, now that Gen Prayut has been ordered to take a break by the Constitutional Court during its deliberation of his eight-year tenure, it is impractical for Gen Prawit to consult Gen Prayut who currently cannot discharge his duties as prime minister, according to Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam.

The government's legal expert said the cabinet yesterday decided to pass a fresh resolution authorising Gen Prawit to approve appointments and make budget decisions, in addition to other prime ministerial powers.

Gen Prawit chaired yesterday's weekly cabinet meeting as acting prime minister for the first time since Gen Prayut was suspended last Wednesday, the point at which Gen Prawit's added powers took retroactive effect.

Yesterday's resolution also spelt out the line of succession among the deputy prime ministers. If Gen Prawit, the most senior deputy prime minister, was unable to act as prime minister for any reason, he would be succeeded by Mr Wissanu, followed by Anutin Charnvirakul, Jurin Laksanawisit, Don Pramudwinai and Supattanapong Punmeechaow.

Gen Prawit insisted no cabinet reshuffle is in the pipeline.

"Why change anything when what we have is still workable?" he said.

Meanwhile, the opposition agreed the House should not be dissolved until a number of essential bills for organising elections are enacted, predicting chaos if a dissolution were to happen too soon.

However, opposition leader Cholnan Srikaew has pledged to keep a close watch on Gen Prawit's performance as acting prime minister.

The opposition believes Gen Prayut completed his maximum eight-year term, as stipulated by the constitution, on Aug 24. However, others argued he still has either two or five years left to serve, depending on the interpretation of the charter.

Dr Cholnan, who leads the main opposition Pheu Thai Party, said the House being disbanded without the organic laws on the election of MPs and political parties in place first would create a vacuum with chaos likely to ensue if the government opted for an executive decree instead of the bills to manage a general election.

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