Thailand’s Prime Minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, made a significant announcement on Tuesday as he retired from politics after nine years of holding power through a military coup. However, he assured the public that he will remain in charge on a temporary basis until a new government is formed.
Prayuth’s decision to retire came as no surprise, particularly following the poor performance of his military-backed United Thai Nation party in the May 14 election. The party only managed to secure 36 out of the 500 house seats. Prayuth’s role as caretaker premier will be fulfilled until a new government is established.
Prayuth, a former army chief known for his staunch royalist views, led a junta until the 2019 election, in which his opponents assert the outcome was predetermined. Parliament then reappointed him as prime minister for an additional four years. Prayuth has consistently denied any claims of predetermined outcomes and, in his retirement statement, emphasized the successes achieved under his leadership.
He stated, “I as prime minister have worked hard to protect the nation, religion, monarchy for the benefit of the beloved people. The result is currently bearing fruit for the public.” Prayuth emphasized that he had strived to bring stability and peace to the country by overcoming numerous obstacles, both domestically and internationally.
During his nine years in power, Prayuth faced numerous challenges, including court cases against him, votes of no confidence in the parliament, and street protests from opponents who believed he lacked a legitimate mandate. Despite these challenges, Prayuth managed to sustain his position as prime minister until now.
The timing of Prayuth’s retirement announcement coincides with the new parliament’s upcoming session on Thursday, during which a vote will be held to decide the next prime minister. However, the outcome of this vote remains uncertain.
Prayuth’s retirement from politics marks a significant shift in Thailand’s political landscape, as the country awaits the formation of a new government. The upcoming vote for the next prime minister will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping the nation’s future direction. Meanwhile, Prayuth’s successor will inherit the responsibility of navigating the challenges and demands of the Thai people, as well as addressing issues both at home and abroad.