11 July 2024

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha may take to the podium to address supporters of the pro-junta Palang Pracharat party in his campaign debut on March 10th.

Palang Pracharat party leader Uttama Savanayana told media in the northeastern province of Ubon Ratchathani today (Saturday) that the party was discussing suitable timing and location for Gen Prayut, in his capacity as the party’s prime ministerial candidate, to appear for the first time on the hustings. He said that March 10th could be the right time.

Uttama claimed that many of the party’s supporters wanted to meet the candidate, however that depends on Gen Prayut’s schedule.

The Palang Pracharat party leader said he didn’t think the Prime Minister’s appearances at the party’s campaign rallies would have an impact on the party’s popularity due to the criticism from his political opponents, but, like other prime ministerial candidates, he said Gen Prayut should be given the chance to meet with the people and to tell them of his visions for the country.

Meanwhile, former election commissioner and a Democrat party election candidate, Mr. Somchai Srisutthiyakor, warned that the Election Commission had ruled that the prime minister could help campaign for party’s candidates provided that he does not use his positions as incumbent prime minister and head of the National Council for Peace and Order during the campaign.

For instance, he said that Gen Prayut can only campaign outside office hours and must not use any state resources, his official car or security detail during the campaign and must refrain from using other government transport, such as planes, to travel to other provinces.

He also warned state media not to cover his campaign activities in a way which might be seen as favouring the Palang Pracharat party.