Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Army chief not keen on politics 

Oct 21. 2019
File Photo: General Apirat Kongsompong
File Photo: General Apirat Kongsompong
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By NATTHAPHAT PHROMKAEW
The Nation

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Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said Army chief General Apirat Kongsompong must wait for two years after retirement to be eligible for the position of prime minister, while Apirat says he will not jump into politics.

In response to Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan comment previously that it would be a good thing if 

Army chief General Apirat Kongsompongo would be the next prime minister, Wissanu Krea-ngam, co-Deputy Prime Minister, said on Monday (October 21) that someone raised the possibility and asked for a comment from Prawit before others followed up the matter.

“Apirat is not qualified to be the prime minister because he is a government official and when he retires as Army chief, he will no longer be a senator,” said Wissanu.

“According to the Constitution, he has to wait for two years after he retires if he wants to take a position in the Cabinet,” he added.

Apirat, however, insisted on the same day that he will not jump into politics. “It is impossible, I will not be in politics and just want to be friends of politicians,” he said.

Apirat made a controversial speech on national security topic on October 11,where he expressed his opposition to efforts to amend the junta-sponsor Constitution. Academics and opposition politicians blamed Apirat for trying to intervene in politics, prompting Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha to throw his support behind him by saying that Apirat had good intention for the country.

Some in the opposition parties have interpreted such move by Prayut and Apirat as a preparation for the latter to be Prayut’s successor when the 4-year term of his government ends. 

The observation drew public interest, partly because current senators have voting right in selecting the prime minister as they did with Prayut.

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