New prime minister Srettha meets Gen Prayut

New prime minister Srettha meets Gen Prayut

In 'amicable' exchange of views, Prayut advises successor to be calm and patient

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin shakes hands with his predecessor, Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, at Government House on Thursday. (Photo: Government House)
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin shakes hands with his predecessor, Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, at Government House on Thursday. (Photo: Government House)

Newly appointed Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin met with his predecessor Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha at Government House on Thursday to seek advice.

The key piece of advice from his predecessor? Stay calm and be patient while running the country, Mr Srettha said after a 45-minute visit that he described as amicable.

“He is a respected senior figure. The talks were held amicably, like adult discussions,” he told reporters.

Mr Srettha arrived at Government House in a black Toyota Alphard at around 11.05am to pay a courtesy call on Gen Prayut. The visit came after the former property tycoon and candidate of the Pheu Thai Party received royal endorsement as the country’s 30th prime minister on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, a joint sitting of the House and the Senate elected Mr Srettha as prime minister with 482 votes for, 165 against and 81 abstentions.

The new premier was escorted by Pol Col Wathanyu Watcharapalothai, a former police guard of fugitive former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Pirapan Salirathavibhaga, leader of the United Thai Nation (UTN) Party and secretary-general to the outgoing premier, was also present during Thursday's meeting.

Newly appointed Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin arrives at Government House on Thursday. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)

Mr Srettha said Gen Prayut was friendly and led him on a tour around Government House.

In addition to advising his successor to stay calm and patient, Gen Prayut asked him to take care of the three pillar institutions — nation, religion and monarchy — and continue with the good policies that the outgoing government has been implementing, said Mr Srettha.

He insisted there were no discussions about the defence minister portfolio, saying the two men simply exchanged views on how to make the country move forward.

Gen Prayut placed more emphasis on stepping past conflicts and taking good care of the country, said Mr Srettha.

“Gen Prayut said it was the first time in history that two prime ministers held talks and exchanged ideas. This is considered a good thing," he added.

Meanwhile, Gen Prayut was seen taking selfie photos with reporters amid heavy rain after a Defence Council meeting on Thursday.

He told reporters that he had handed over his tasks to the new prime minister during their meeting on Thursday morning.

He said he did not know who would become the new defence minister when asked whether he had someone in mind for the post.

Gen Prayut said the country was moving ahead with the new government and it was time to end political division.

He dismissed speculation that Mr Srettha had become prime minister due to his support, saying the formation of the new government followed parliamentary procedures.

“Don’t create any new issues or think things up yourselves. Whatever you write you must be careful. Today, there must not be conflicts. Everything must follow proper procedures,” he said before stepping into his car.

Newly appointed Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin gives a wai to his predecessor Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, 69, at Government House. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)

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