THAILAND’S military Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha said any political party that wished to see him run for office as a civilian in the upcoming elections should extend a formal invitation.
Prayuth said this after key figures from the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), a newly formed pro-military and conservative political party, had stated their intention of fielding Prayuth as their front-runner.
Both Prayuth and the party’s remarks come despite after a slim majority of Thais surveyed believed that the general should not pursue a political career after the elections set for early next year.
The PPRP has reportedly recruited a substantial number of former MPs with the help of the “Three Allies” coalition which was formed by ex-cabinet ministers and former allies of deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Prayuth had in recent months alluded to the idea of him taking on a political career after the election but has stopped short of expressing his ambitions of taking office again as a civilian.
According to the Bangkok Post, Prayuth said he may have “something” on his mind regarding the nomination.
“But that is best known to me,” he was quoted as saying, adding he would talk about the issue again “when the time comes.”
The military general has been assuming the number one role after toppling former Prime Minister and Thaksin’s sister Yingluck Shinawatra in a 2014 coup.
The military-controlled government, known as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has repeatedly postponed the elections but officials recently said the polls would be held by the end of February.
Earlier this month, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, in a cryptic remark, hinted that the next Thai Prime Minister will be a person whose face “looks similar” to Prayuth.
“Don’t worry [about inconsistency], I have a hunch that the face of the next prime minister will look similar to the current one.”