11 July 2024

Provincial officials have been warned to exercise greater caution when welcoming Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha during his campaign trail to prevent provoking any legal complications for the premier, said Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda today.

He noted that in providing security for the prime minister on the hustings as a prime ministerial candidate of the Palang Pracharat party, the security service accorded to Gen Prayut should be the same as that provided to other prime ministerial candidates.

Officials have been placed in an awkward position, regarding the way they will have to treat the incumbent prime minister in his capacity as a prime ministerial candidate, because he is still wearing the hats of the Prime Minister of Thailand and head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).  Additionally, the law forbids a state official from electoral campaigning, whereas the actual status of the Prime Minister remains unclear as to whether he is considered a state official or just a public figure.

Interior Minister Anupong admitted that he didn’t know for sure that the Prime Minister would join Palang Praharat’s campaign rally in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima next week,  adding that he also didn’t know whether officials in the province could welcome Gen Prayut as they used to do, but he hopes that the Election Commission will be able to clarify the matter.

As far as the Prime Minister’s security is concerned, he said security officers should perform their duty as usual.

Preparations have been made for Gen Prayut to stage his campaign debut in Nakhon Ratchasima on March 10th, but the Prime Minister has not yet officially stated that he will attend.