11 July 2024

The 194 senators to be handpicked by the Thailand’s military junta, which is officially known as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), are expected to be dominated by active and retired generals with close links to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan and Interior Minister General Anupong Paochinda.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngarm said yesterday that a shortlist of 400 senatorial candidates, representing professional groups and Thailand’s 76 provinces, had been vetted by a screening committee and their names are expected to be in the hands of the NCPO today.

The NCPO will then choose a total of 194 to become senators.  Additionally, there are six ex-officio senators, namely the supreme commander, the commanders of the army, navy and air force, the national police chief and the defence permanent secretary.

Well-informed sources have told Thai PBS that, of the 400 shortlisted candidates, about 50 are close to General Prawit and were either his classmates at the armed forces preparatory school or used to work with him at the Defence Ministry or at the foundation to protect forests.

Those close to Prime Minister Prayut and Interior Minister Anupong and some retiring military officers will also be among the 50 to be handpicked by the junta.

Some of the 50 potential senators are:

Former police chief Pol Gen Patcharawat Wongsuwan     Admiral Ditthawatchara Wongsuwan

Pol Lt-Gen Boonruang Pholpanich                                           Gen Wich Dhephasdin na Ayudhya

Gen Noppadol Inthapanya                                                         General Wallop Raksanoh,

Gen Sirichai Ditthakul                                                                 Gen Udomdet Seetabutr

Gen Boonsang Niampradit                                                         Gen Ood Buangbon

Gen Thiradet Meepien                                                                Gen Pairote Panichsamai

Gen Kittipong Ketkowit                                                              Gen Aksara Kerdphol

Gen Akanit Moensawat                                                              Gen Songkitti Chakkabat

Admiral Wallop Kerdphol                                                          Gen Thirawat Boonyapradab

There are 50 other senators to be elected under the supervision of the Election Commission, bringing the total number of senators to 250.