11 July 2024

Incumbent Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has expressed confidence that his United Thai Nation Party will win enough seats in the upcoming election for him to be nominated as the next prime minister.

He also said, however, that he is ready to accept whatever the poll results turn out to be. “I will just go home. Where else could I go?” he said when asked whether he would call it quits, politically, if his party and its allies are not able to muster enough support to form a coalition.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Thai PBS on Saturday, the outgoing prime minister pointed out that, based on recent opinion polls, he and his United Thai Nation have been gaining ground.

Prayut is a prime ministerial candidate of United Thai Nation,but is not running for MP. Each political party is entitled to propose up to three prime ministerial candidates in the election, but it needs to win a minimum of 25 House seats for its nominations to be valid.

“I am confident that we will win at least 25 seats,” he said, when asked to comment on his prospects of returning to power following the election, “but it depends on whether the people will give me enough votes to continue to work. If not, then someone else will take over,” he added.

Prayut admitted that he decided to break away from Palang Pracharath Party because of conflicts with people aligned with its leader Gen Prawit Wongsuwan.

Prayut became prime minister under the banner of Palang Pracharath in the last general election in 2019, but a falling-out with its leader Prawit resulted in him breaking away to join United Thai Nation.

Prayut insists that, despite their political differences, he and Prawit remain “brothers”.

Prawit, who is also running to be the country’s next prime minister, has been distancing himself from Prayut and the coup the latter engineered in 2014, trying to portray himself as a peace-maker who is ready to end the country’s extended political polarisation.