By Thai Newsroom Reporters
PRIME MINISTER PRAYUT Chan-o-cha is likely to have slim chances of prolonging his rule beyond the next general election since he is virtually getting stuck in a dilemma between dissolving the House of Representatives to call the nationwide race to parliament in a few months from now and further dragging his feet until the final week of March to mark an end to the House’s four-year term, according to a noted academic.
Ubon Ratchathani University law lecturer Trinet Sarapong remarked that Prayut’s chances of retaining his premiership after the general election are getting slimmer by the day since he has kept many MPs on edge as to whether he may dissolve the House at any time to call a general election in 60 days or he may only keep the legislative branch fully complete its term on March 24 without bothering to dissolve it and instead to hold the general election in 45 days as provided by law.
Whilst most MPs would understandably prefer to learn of an accurate time frame to prepare their electoral campaigns and get reelected, Prayut has been dragging his feet, remaining non-committal to anything political as if he had been contented with anxieties and bewilderments expressed daily by those electioneering politicians, Trinet said.
“The more anxious the anticipation of the House dissolution by the MPs, especially those who may have planned to go party-hopping during a current run-up to the general election, appears to be, the less eager the premier seems to meet their desires,” the law lecturer put it.
However, it is less likely for Prayut himself to succeed in his thinly-veiled design to prolong his rule for two more years after the general election as far as his standoffishness and indecisiveness are primarily concerned, the Ubon Ratchathani academic said.
Since his times as leader of the 2014 coup junta and subsequent head of a military-installed government until after the 2019 general election which turned him into head of a Palang Pracharath-led coalition government, Prayut has literally kept his distance from MPs on either side of the House chamber aisle and hardly attended weekly House meetings for fear of being probably given more curse than credit.
Prayut has usually stopped short of saying whether or not he may ever contest the general election under the tickets of the Ruam Thai Sang Chart Party, which has been the only camp so far to openly proclaim their intent to name him a partisan contender for head of a post-election government.
Nevertheless, Prayut will not dissolve the House as repeatedly challenged by the opposition bloc or tacitly insisted by a coalition partner like the Bhumjaithai anytime soon since he probably could not rest assured to the extent that his much-heralded dream will come true, given the circumstances under which the Palang Pracharath-led coalition has been largely divided and the Pheu Thai-led opposition has apparently secured more popularity among constituents in nearly all parts of the country, Trinet said.
Whilst Prayut might take for granted that the longer he is delaying the House dissolution probably until the last day, the more advantage he will have in contesting the general election, the academic suggested that the coup leader-turned-premier might inevitably deserve getting stuck in such a dilemma.
For the time being, one may wonder how the pro-Prayut party could possibly turn a minimum of 25 electoral contestants into MPs to be eligible to name him a partisan contender for prime minister coupled with the anticipation of a majority of MPs under a potential coalition plus the 250 unelected senators casting yea votes in his support.
The Palang Pracharath is largely speculated to name party boss Prawit Wongsuwan among a trio of partisan contenders for prime minister probably without the current one being included whilst the Bhumjaithai will do the same with party leader Anutin Charnvirakul, leaving Prayut solely under the wings of the Ruam Thai Sang Chart which is yet to make the first MP of their own.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Top photo: Matichon, Front Page photo: Thai Rath