General Prawit aims to be ‘people’s PM’ by running as party-list candidate
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, leader of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party, will be the party’s top candidate on its party-list so that he can be a prime minister elected by the people, he said on Saturday.
“There is no ballot to elect the prime minister [but] I want to become a prime minister who is elected by the people,” General Prawit wrote on his Facebook page, noting that voters will get two ballots, one to vote for their preferred constituency candidate and another to vote for the political party they support.
Prawit said that by putting his name at the top of Palang Pracharath’s 100-candidate party-list he would be giving voters a chance to show their support for him as the country’s next prime minister.
“If I don’t contest the election, how can I be sure that people choose me? It could be that voters elect other people [in the party] and I happen to benefit without allowing myself to be a choice for voters,” he explained.
“I intend to be a leader in the democratic system. If I can’t be sure the [party’s] votes are meant for me, how can I serve confidently and proudly as a leader?” he added, concluding:
“I don’t want to lie to myself that I ‘come from the people’s election’.”
Prawit’s post has been interpreted as a thinly veiled criticism of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who left the Palang Pracharath Party to join the one-year-old United Thai Nation Party.
Prayut, who was Palang Pracharath’s sole prime ministerial candidate in the 2019 election, will contest the May 14 vote as the first PM candidate of the United Thai Nation Party, but he reportedly will not run as a party-list candidate.
Each political party must nominate up to three prime ministerial candidates before the election, but the current Constitution does not require that a prime minister be an elected MP.
Prawit is the sole PM candidate of Palang Pracharath in the next election.
The two former Army chiefs led the junta after the 2014 coup, but their relationship has soured.
Prawit previously posted six open letters on his personal Facebook account floating the idea of forming a coalition government after the election that consists of political parties from conflicting camps to “promote reconciliation and democracy”.
His latest post claimed that his six open letters sparked a great deal of interest, saying there have been more than 10 million Google searches for them.