Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered a popular fortune teller to stop predicting his future after a weekend prophecy over the length of the prime minister’s term in office stirred controversy.
Gen Prayut said on Tuesday that he had "sent a signal'' to Warin Buawiratlert to end his prognosticating about his future after the astrologer forecast on Sunday in Chiang Mai that the junta leader would remain in power for three more years.
The controversy grew on Monday when the government's deputy spokesman said the prediction dovetailed with the military-led government's intent to stay in power until its goals were accomplished and subversive plots ended.
The prime minister shrugged off the astrologer's prediction and reiterated that he continued to follow the timeline in the roadmap to restore democracy and general elections.
"I don't know. (You) should ask him," he told reporters at Government House when asked about the prediction. "I have my own roadmap and I've sent a signal to fortune teller Warin that he should not make any more prediction. And I hope he won't."
"I have no intention to hold on to power," he added.
Col Winthai Suwaree, spokesman for the National Council for Peace and Order, said the government is keeping to a schedule that includes elections in early 2016.
"We are committed to the roadmap where elections would happen after the new constitution is put in place," he said.
Mr Warin, who is a favourite fortune teller for many retired and active generals, and politicians, made headlines on Sunday when the prime minister visited his home province of Chiang Mai. The soothsayer prognosticated that new elections would not be held next year as promised and that Gen Prayut would stay in office for about three more years.
Mr Warin is widely known as "the CNS fortune teller", as he was closely consulted by then-army chief Gen Sonthi Boonyaratkalin before he rolled tanks and troops onto Bangkok streets to unseat then-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in the Sept 19, 2006 coup.
CNS stands for the Council for National Security, which was set up by Gen Sonthi after the coup.
Red-shirt key member Chinnawat Habunpad wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday urging people not to be carried away by the prediction which made supporters of Gen Prayut "jubilant".
The former Pheu Thai Party MP said he trusted former finance minister Virabongsa Ramagura more than the astrologer. Mr Virabongsa has said and wrote articles in several occasions that the future of the government depended on who it handled the economic issues.
Surapong Tovichakchaikul of Pheu Thai and Worachai Hema, another United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship leader, also opposed any decision for the prime minister to prolong power.