Prayut wants Pirapan to succeed him as PM, eventually

Prayut wants Pirapan to succeed him as PM, eventually

Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha of the United Thai Nation Party arrives at the Thailand-Japan sports centre in Din Daeng district, Bangkok, on Monday, as registration began there for  constituency candidates in the May 14 general election. (Bangkok Post photo)
Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha of the United Thai Nation Party arrives at the Thailand-Japan sports centre in Din Daeng district, Bangkok, on Monday, as registration began there for constituency candidates in the May 14 general election. (Bangkok Post photo)

Caretaker Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Monday that if he is fortunate enough to again be premier after the general election he would want United Thai Nation Party (UTN) leader Pirapan Salirathavibhaga to succeed him when his eight-year limit as prime minister expires in 2025.

The Constitutional Court ruled on Sept 30, 2022 that Gen Prayut's tenure as prime minister began under the 2017 constitution on April 6, 2017, when the charter took effect, not when he led a military coup in 2014 and was shortly after declared prime minister. 

Under the ruling, Gen Prayut's eight-year tenure in office will expire in 2025. If he were again elected prime minister by a joint sitting of parliament after the May 14 general election, he could remain in the job for only two years.

Gen Prayut has tied his political future to the UTN and is expected to be its primary candidate for prime minister.

He expressed his preference for Mr Pirapan to succeed him if he is successful when he and other senior politicians arrived at the Thailand-Japan sports centre in Din Daeng district on Monday morning, when constituency candidates of the various parties began registering there for the polls.

During the registration process, Gen Prayut was seen chatting amicably with Gen Prawit Wongsuwon, leader of the Palang Pracharath Party that headed the outgoing government.

Registration of candidates in the party-list system starts on Tuesday.Gen Prayut is expected to be the UTN's primary candidate for prime minister and Mr Pirapan the second. Gen Prayut will not run in the party-list system, standing instead as an outside candidate for the post. Mr Pirapan will be at the top of the party-list.

Asked how many House seats the United Thai Nation Party expected to win in this election, Gen Prayut said he hoped it would emerge with the most MPs, so that it could be the core of the next government.

"If I were to be prime minister again, my time would run out in two years. After that I would wish that Mr Pirapan, the party leader and second prime ministerial candidate, would succeed me. I have more than 100% confidence in him," Gen Prayut said.

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