Some facts about the Privy Council of Thailand
Former prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has become the latest member of the Privy Council following his appointment by His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn as published in the Royal Gazette with effect from November 30.
The former army commander seized power in a coup in May 2014 and was appointed PM by an unelected military-dominated national legislature that August. He was nominated for and won a further term as premier in the 2019 general election.
Gen Prayut left office in August this year.
What is the Privy Council of Thailand?
The Privy Council is a body of advisors to the Monarchy. The council, as the Constitution of Thailand stipulates, must be composed of no more than 18 members and is led by the president of the Council.
The king alone appoints all members of the council. The council’s offices are in the Privy Council Chambers, Saranrom Royal Garden, near The Grand Palace, Bangkok.
The 2017 Constitution gave the privy council many roles and powers. These are mostly associated with issues surrounding the monarchy and performing missions as determined or assigned by the king.
The first Privy Council in Siam was set up by royal decree on May 8, 1874, during the reign of King Chulalongkorn, Rama V, as the personal advisor to the King.
He created two councils: the Privy Council of Siam with 49 members and the “Council of State” later renamed the Council of Ministers with 12.
The privy council was created to deal with legislative affairs while the latter became an early version of the cabinet.
The councillors cannot be partisan and therefore cannot be members of the House of Representatives, Senate, Election Commission, Ombudsman, members of the National Human Rights Commission, judges of the Constitutional Court, judges of an Administrative Court, members of the National Counter Corruption Commission, members of the State Audit Commission, government officials holding a permanent position or receiving a permanent salary, officials of a state enterprise, other state official or holder of other position of member or official of a political party, and must not manifest loyalty to any political party.
Privy councillors are not however prohibited from sitting on the boards of influential companies.
After being appointed the councillors must take an oath in the presence of the king to assume office.
A councillor vacates office upon death, resignation, or at royal command.
Current Privy Councillors
General Surayud Chulanont / President of the Privy Council
Air Chief Marshal Chalit Pukbhasuk
General Dapong Ratanasuwan
General Paiboon Koomchaya
General Kampanat Ruddit
Admiral Pongthep Nhuthep
Chirayu Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya
General Chalermchai Sitthisad
Air Chief Marshal Johm Rungswang
General Bundit Malaiarisoon
General Prayut Chan-o-cha
Privy Councillors who served as prime ministers
General Prem Tinsulanonda
General Surayud Chulanont
General Prayut Chan-o-cha
The current president of the Privy Council is General Surayud Chulanont, 24th Prime Minister, former Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and former Army Commander. He has held the position since May 27, 2019, after the death of General Prem Tinsulanonda.
Section 4 of “Position Stipend for Privy Councilors and Statesmen” under the royal decree. states that the president of the Privy Council receives a monthly salary of 121,990 baht while other privy councillors are renumerated with 112,250 baht per month.