Anutin 'not keen' on being Prayut's heir

Anutin 'not keen' on being Prayut's heir

Bhumjaithai Party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said he wouldn't want to inherit the prime minister's post from anyone, saying many of those who did so in the past didn't manage to serve a full term.

He made the remarks after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Tuesday he hoped to stay in office for another two years after next year's election, during which time he would find a suitable person to succeed him once he reaches his tenure limit.

If Gen Prayut gets re-elected next year, he would only be able to serve as prime minister until 2025, as the constitution bars anyone from serving as premier for more than eight years. Observers believe Mr Anutin has a high chance of being picked by Gen Prayut as his successor.

Responding to the speculation, Mr Anutin yesterday said historical precedents have shown that the political careers of such "heirs" are often ill-fated.

"For me, I have to personally win the trust of the people first, as opposed to waiting [to be appointed a successor]," he said.

"As such, my concern is how Bhumjaithai can broaden its appeal to more people."

When asked whether he would support Gen Prayut as prime minister if he were to run under the United Thai Nation Party (UTN), Mr Anutin said, "Things will be clearer after the election."

Many pundits expect Gen Prayut to join the UTN, a new party led by Pirapan Saliratavibhaga, a former Democrat MP who serves as an adviser to the prime minister.

They believe the party will nominate Gen Prayut as its prime ministerial candidate as soon as he leaves the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), which had nominated him as a PM candidate in the last election.

The UTN was founded in March last year by Seksakol Atthawong, a former aide to the prime minister. It was formed to back Gen Prayut's potential return as premier.

However, Gen Prayut remains tight-lipped over any possible move to the UTN.

The House's four-year term is due to expire in March, with the election expected in the first half of next year.

According to the constitution, a political party needs to secure at least 25 House seats (5% of the 500 House seats) to nominate a prime ministerial candidate.

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