MONDAY, April 15, 2024

Why Prayut will continue living in his Army residence after PM term ends

Why Prayut will continue living in his Army residence after PM term ends

The Pheu Thai Party has called on outgoing Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha to move out of his official residence once he is out of office. The Nation explains why the party's call will be in vain.

Currently, Prayut is living in his official residence inside the First Infantry Regiment, King’s Bodyguards, where he has been living for over 10 years since he was serving in the Royal Thai Army.

His official residence is called “Ban Luang” or state residence. Pheu Thai MPs argue that since Prayut has started packing his belongings at Government House, he should also start packing to move out of his Ban Luang residence inside the First Infantry Regiment.

Prayut has rejected the call. He said he would move out only after the Army changes its regulations and that he was living there for security reasons.

Earlier, Prayut’s Ban Luang became a hot political issue after the then opposition Pheu Thai asked the Constitutional Court to rule on whether he should leave the official Army residence now that he no longer serves in the Army.

However, the Constitutional Court ruled unanimously in 2020 that Prayut could stay on no matter how long.

The Ban Luang residences inside the First Infantry Regiment are for Army generals with the rank of full general and former senior Army generals who have done outstanding work for the Royal Thai Army, including former Army commanders-in-chief.

Why Prayut will continue living in his Army residence after PM term ends Prayut has been living in the Ban Luang residence for over 10 years as a former Army chief without having to pay for power and water bills.

Civilian prime ministers, however, do not enjoy the same privileges as Prayut.

The Constitutional Court ruled that Prayut is living in the official residence under the clear regulations of the Royal Thai Army.

The court also ruled that the state should provide the official residence to the country’s leaders so that they can administer the country in public interest.

It has been reported that Prayut has himself designed his official residence. It was built on a two-rai (3,200 square metres) plot, surrounded by tall trees to block views from the outside for security reasons.

Why Prayut will continue living in his Army residence after PM term ends Prayut’s official residence has been visited by leading politicians during the past several years. It was reported that during political crises, Prayut’s official residence became a secret war room or a place for holding secret meetings.

When the Abhisit Vejjajiva government, in 2010, faced violent protests by the red shirts, Abhisit and then deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban were regular visitors to Prayut’s Ban Luang residence.

Although Prayut is expected to leave office as prime minister once the next PM is elected, tentatively by the middle of next month, there are no regulations to force him to leave the official residence.

The case of Prayut living in his Army residence is similar to that of the late former Army chief and former Privy Council president, General Prem Tinsulanonda, who lived in his Sisao Theves Residence for over 40 years.