PM interested in staying in politics

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Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha is shown in this Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, file photo. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha is shown in this Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, file photo. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Bangkok (AP) — The head of Thailand’s government declared Monday he is “interested” in participating in politics, in a new indication he may seek to remain in office after elections scheduled for early next year.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s remarks did not clarify whether he is considering running in the general election, which is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 24 next year, or will seek to be appointed by the new parliament as a non-elected outsider prime minister.

“I can say right now that I’m interested in political positions,” Prayuth told reporters at Government House.

At least three political groups have so far declared they will support Prayuth to become prime minister. Although the election is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 24, it can legally be held as late as early May.

Prayuth’s first open admission that he saw himself as more than a temporary leader came in January this year when he said, “I am a politician who used to be a soldier.” He said he never wanted to become a politician but did so because of a “sense of responsibility.”

On Monday, Prayuth said “I can use these words now: ‘I am interested in politics,’ because I love my country, probably like every Thai in the country.”

“What I’ll decide, whom I’ll support, I’ll need some more time,” Prayuth said, adding that he had no immediate plans to resign from his current position as leader of the nation.