By Thai Newsroom Reporters
CARETAKER PRIME MINISTER Prawit Wongsuwan has been obviously showing his ability to keep the country moving on without Prayut Chan-o-cha as head of government, said a noted academic over the weekend.
Rangsit University political scientist Wanwichit Boonprong concluded that Prawit has looked more agile, self-confident and physically stronger than ever since he became caretaker premier to run the country whilst Prayut has been ordered by court to stop performing as head of government pending a court ruling on his eight-year tenure maximumly provided by law.
“Like it or not, Prawit has apparently proven himself capable of keeping the country moving on without Prayut,” the academic put it.
Prawit who claimed to be running the country virtually with the heart and not with any physical force would not only reshuffle the cabinet but strengthen the unity and efficiency of the largest coalition Palang Pracharath Party of which he concurrently acts as top leader only if Prayut’s eight-year rule is finally judged by the Constitutional Court to have already ended since August 24, Wanwichit said.
There might probably be four ministerial seats to be filled in the speculated cabinet reshuffle, including two left vacant by Prawit’s camp since last year plus one for Bhumjaithai Party and the other for Democrat Party.
More importantly, Prawit could possibly be named an “outsider” candidate for head of government if the court ruling is delivered to end Prayut’s rule, thus depriving the latter of prime ministerial status whilst those earlier named candidates for head of government by parties contesting a previous election might probably not secure enough votes from MPs and senators, according to the Rangsit academic.
Apart from the caretaker premier, the other partisan candidates for head of government include Bhumjaithai Party leader/Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and former Democrat Party leader/former premier Abhisit Vejjajiva.
Palang Pracharath and other coalition MPs plus senators, many of whom had been earlier handpicked by Prawit, would undoubtedly prefer the party boss-cum-caretaker premier take the top post of government instead, Wanwichit commented.
In the provinces where Prawit has visited, the caretaker premier looked more accessible and friendly to the people than Prayut whose members of entourage were only busy literally keeping the suspended premier a distance from the people including those who may personally admire him. “Prawit is practically more of a politician than Prayut, to say the least,” Wanwichit put it.
Prawit’s personality, albeit in his old age, could not only potentially conjure up popularity among constituents for himself but for the rank and file of all partisan members who may contest the next election for MPs, the academic said.
Prawit could probably land the likelihood of electoral triumphs for his partisan candidates in many constituencies in all regions of the country only if he becomes prime minister and then dissolves the House of Representatives to call a general election sooner or later with the Election Commission-drafted version of electoral rules being provided for the next race to parliament.
Former premier Thaksin Shinawatra earlier predicted that Palang Pracharath Party would no longer name Prayut as candidate for head of a post-election government as had been the case in the 2019 election even if he might possibly survive the legal battle and be allowed by court to prolong his rule.
Prayut rose to power by way of a coup which he orchestrated as army chief in 2014, then named himself head of a military-installed government later that year and was successfully named head of the Palang Pracharath-led coalition government following the 2019 election.
Top: Caretaker Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan with suspended Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Photo: Naewna
Front Page: Rangsit University political scientist Wanwichit Boonprong. Photo: Facebook and published by Ejan