A PROMINENT leader of a major political party aligned with the ruling Thai military government is confident of a major win in the elections early next year.
Somsak Tehsuthin, of the Palang Pacharath Party (PPRP) said the party expects to win at least 150 house seats in the general election.
Somsak, whose party is a core component of the royalist, pro-military Sam Mitr (Three Allies) coalition, said his party would be able to grab 120 seats from the constituency system and another 30 seats from the party-list system, according to the Bangkok Post.
He said this was due to the party’s increased popularity as the polling season approaches in the election which is tipped to be held in the first quarter of next year.
“We aren’t aiming high at this point, but our mission to see through the government’s work and is one of the factors drawing support for our candidates,” he was quoted as saying.
“The people have started to realise what the government is doing for the country.”
Thailand currently has 500 seats for its House of Representatives and 150 for Senate.
The country’s military Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha earlier 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 PPRP 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.
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.