23 May 2024

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha indicated for the first time on Thursday that he will dissolve the House before it completes its current term in late March.

“I have a date in mind already,” he said, but declined to elaborate.

Prayut was speaking to reporters at the end of the two-day House debate, during which he became a focus of a brutal assault by opposition MPs.

Prayut refused to say whether he will dissolve the House in early March, as is widely speculated. “I still need to make a final decision and some preparations,” he said.

The current term of the House will officially end on March 23rd. There has been speculation that Prayut will dissolve the House prior to the date.

He did, however, dismiss critics’ charges that he is buying time, in order to give the United Thai Nation Party more time to prepare for the upcoming general election. Prayut recently joined the party, which will nominate him as its sole prime minister candidate in the polls.

The prime minister also declined to comment on how his government performed in the two days of House debate, during which Prayut and some of his Cabinet members came under heavy attack.

Opposition MPs zeroed in on what they alleged to be Prayut’s mismanagement and failures in various fields. Prayut was also accused of promoting nepotism and turning a blind eye to widespread corruption.

The prime minister is non-committal as to whether, as a prime minister candidate, he will take part in election debates. “I have yet to decide on that,” he said.

In the last general election in 2019, Prayut shunned all debate fora. Prayut was then the prime minister candidate of Palang Pracharath, the main component of the ruling coalition.