By Thai Newsroom Reporters
PRIME MINISTER PRAYUT Chan-o-cha intends to keep running the country with the current coalition government until March, according to a highly-placed source at Government House.
Given the current four-year term of the House of Representatives being scheduled to end on March 24, Prayut has already decided against dissolving the House anytime between now and then, said the source who only spoke on condition of anonymity.
Palang Pracharath MP Verakorn Khamprakop earlier said Prayut might probably dissolve the House a few weeks ahead of March 24 and call a general election which would be held in 60 days as provided by law.
But the nationwide election might probably come up in 45 days if Prayut did not dissolve the House but completely lived out its four-year term as earlier suggested by former prime minister-cum-de facto Pheu Thai boss Thaksin Shinawatra.
Prayut, who has risen to power by way of the 2014 coup which he himself orchestrated as army chief and has been allowed by court to prolong his rule until 2025, has recently confided to members of his cabinet that he has planned to keep running the country until March, according to the source at Government House.
Upon hearing Prayut’s words, a few cabinet members responded that they would not be very well-prepared to contest the general election anytime soon and that the more delay the better for them, the source said.
However, Palang Pracharath boss-cum-Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan did not join in a chit chat over lunch between Prayut and those cabinet members at Government House.
The unelected premier’s political design was apparently keeping many coalition MPs on edge amidst speculation that some may have planned to leave for the pro-Prayut Ruam Thai Sang Chart and contest the next general election under the brand-new party’s tickets.
The Ruam Thai Sang Chart, headed by former Democrat MP Pirapan Salirathawipak who concurrently acts as adviser to the prime minister, has been primarily set up with intent to get a minimum of 25 MPs to be eligible to name Prayut as a partisan candidate for head of a post-election government.
Some of the Palang Pracharath cabinet members might probably hop over to the Ruam Thai Sang Chart to help make Prayut’s political design come true, partisan sources said.
But Deputy House Speaker Suchart Tancharoen and Culture Minister Ittipol Khunpluem, both being currently attached to Prawit’s camp, are more or less speculated to return to the Pheu Thai where they have earlier belonged and seek reelection under the largest opposition party’s banners, they said.
Speculated to leave the Palang Pracharath for the Ruam Thai Sang Chart only if Prayut joined in first are a number of cabinet members including Chaiwut Thanakhamanusorn and Suchart Chomklin as well as leading members of the Sam Mit faction within the ruling party’s rank and file, namely Somsak Thepsuthin, Suriya Juangroongruangkit and Anucha Nakhasai, among others.
Top: Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, left, and Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, right, with the logos of Ruam Thai Sang Chart and Palang Pracharath parties on either side.
Front Page: Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in his limousine. Both photos: Matichon
Also read: Prayut not a Ruam Thai Sang Chart member yet