IN September, Thailand will know whether or not Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha will continue to play an active role in politics.
In the lead-up to the general elections due early next year, the junta leader told reporters that he will make an announcement on the matter next month.
This came following the remarks Prayuth made during an interview with Bloomberg in June where he said he would make his political future clear in September, Bangkok Post reported.
“The time has not come yet… I haven’t forgot what I said. When the time comes, I’ll let you know,” he said.
Prayuth, who led the military coup to oust former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in 2014, said he has yet to decide to stay on as prime minister.
“I have to look at the law and the Constitution. I have to consider what I should stay on for,” he said.
Bangkok Post reported wide speculation that MPs from the Pheu Thai party, once led by Yingluck, were being asked to defect to the Palang Pracharat party. The latter party could serve as a vehicle for the extension of Prayuth’s tenure in office.
The election is tipped to take place in February 2019, but the government has deferred elections on more than a few occasions.
According to Reuters, Prayuth’s backers, including senior and veteran politicians, have openly stated their support for Prayuth to return as prime minister.
Under the Constitution, Prayuth cannot run for office if the election is held in February 2019 because it stipulates that he would need to resign from his post in 2017 in order to compete.
To circumvent the hurdle, Prayuth could be nominated a frontrunner for the post by a political party.
Another route Prayuth could take through the military-backed Constitution is by being elected as an “outside prime minister” upon the nomination of the House of Representatives and military-appointed Senate if the winning party’s candidate fails to secure enough votes.
Prayuth junta government, previously known as the National Council of Peace and Order, has promised to lift its ban on political activities before the elections.