11 July 2024

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha said today he will not take part in any political debate leading up to the election as it would be a waste of his working time.

He also noted that most of the political debates so far have not been constructive as politicians spend more time arguing against each other than talking about platforms.

“It’s not a matter of having guts or not. But most debates end up being attacks against each other with no substance,” he said when asked about mounting pressure from his political opponents for him to take part in election debates.

“I still have to work as prime minister and it would be a waste of my time having to work on rhetoric for debates. So I am not going to join any debate despite all the pressure they try to put on me,” he said.

Earlier, the government’s top lawyer, Deputy Prime Minister Wisanu Krea-ngarm, warned that Gen Prayut would be taking unnecessary risks if he decided to take part in pre-election political debates.

While maintaining that the decision to join debates rests solely with the Prime Minister, he warned that he must exercise extreme caution and refrain from saying anything which might give an impression that he is not politically impartial.

Even if the Election Commission gives the greenlight for the Prime Minister to join a debate with other prime ministerial candidates, Wisanu warned that some questions during a debate could put the prime minister in a difficult position.

“The Constitution mandates that a government official must remain neutral,” said the deputy prime minister adding that, in the case of a debate, the Prime Minister can only talk about his policies.