By Thai Newsroom Reporters
PRIME MINISTER PRAYUT Chan-o-cha today (Dec.20) categorically denied he had earlier joined some 40 current and former MPs for dinner talk on his own design to prolong his rule beyond the next general election.
Despite news reports and pictures showing himself during dinner with those current and former MPs at a restaurant in Soi Ari area of Bangkok on Dec. 8, Prayut told reporters at Government House in his usually irritable tone that he never did so anywhere.
Prayut has been invariably known to literally keep his distance from politicians except for members of his cabinet and refrained from saying anything political though he has been already allowed by court to prolong his rule for two more years after the next general election.
Those current and former MPs, most of whom are currently attached to the Palang Pracharath Party and Democrat Party, are reportedly speculated to join the Ruam Thai Sang Chart Party and contest the nationwide election under the tickets of the brand-new camp in a concerted design to name Prayut as partisan contender for head of a post-election government.
The unelected Prayut is expected to decide whether he will ever jump onto the Ruam Thai Sang Chart bandwagon whose electoral campaigns would reportedly focus on southern constituencies, among others, to steal a number of MPs from those coalition partners.
A contesting party is obliged to have a minimum of 25 elected MPs to be eligible to name a partisan candidate for prime minister.
It will be less likely than ever for Prayut to be named a partisan contestant for prime minister by the Palang Pracharath or the Bhumjaithai, currently being the largest and second largest coalition partners respectively, since both camps might probably name their respective leader, namely Prawit Wongsuwan and Anutin Charnvirakul, as the sole partisan contender for head of government.
Meanwhile, Ruam Thai Sang Chart leader Pirapan Salirathawipak was today named secretary-general to the prime minister, a political position which could possibly be helpful to Prayut’s design to somehow retain power after the general election.
Pirapan was among a group of former Democrat MPs who had joined Bangkok street protests against the Yingluck Shinawatra government in 2014 which finally prompted the then-army chief Prayut to stage a coup, depose the woman premier and name himself head of a military-installed government.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, next to Ruam Thai Sang Chart Party logo in above photo. Credit top photo: Thai Rath, Front Page photo: Thai News Agency