Several political parties have already signaled the names of persons they would be nominating as prime ministerial candidates. While most parties nominate their party leader, the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) announced it was nominating the incumbent prime minister, Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, PM candidate for the next term. The opposition Pheu Thai Party however remained tight-lipped on who it would nominate.
Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, leader of the Palang Pracharath Party, said he would back Gen Prayut and that he was not upset for not getting the nomination.
The nomination of Gen Prayut for another term has sparked criticism about whether the incumbent PM can stay in this position after the next general election, as the constitution forbids anyone from taking the Prime Minister post for longer than 8 years.
Gen Prawit said this argument will need to be settled based on the ruling of the Constitutional Court.
Gen Prayut was nominated by the party in the previous election as an independent candidate. He was not and is not a party member.
The ruling party has seen a departure of Col Suchart Jantarachotikul, the former campaign head for the southern region, who resigned to set up his own party. PPRP leader Gen Prawit denied this was a move to have a backup party.
Other parties in the coalition have also unveiled their candidates. The Bhumjaithai Party (BJP) will nominate party leader and incumbent Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul. The Democrat Party will be nominating party leader and incumbent Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit.
On the opposition side, Move Forward Party (MFP) leader Pita Limjaroenrat said he is ready to serve as the party’s PM candidate, adding that he had been making community visits to get a better understanding of people’s plights and would propose solutions during the party’s election campaign.
He said his party must be ready for all scenarios, including a possibility for a snap election, adding that the current government has long lost its legitimacy since the latest censure debate.
Meanwhile, Pheu Thai Party’s (PTP) Secretary-General Prasert Jantararuangtong said his party does not wish to reveal its PM nominee at this time, but is confident the supporters will be pleased with its choice.
The last general election was held on 24 March 2019, which was the first-ever general election held under the 2017 constitution. The next election is expected to be held no later than 23 March 2023, which could adopt a new polling system proposed under the constitutional amendment bill. (NNT)