Thai Prime Minister Prayuth quits Politics following Election Defeat

July 12, 2023: On Tuesday, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha stated that he would exit from politics nine years after the former general took power in a military coup.

His statement comes ahead of a much-anticipated vote for Thailand’s new prime minister on Thursday. Chan-ocha will play no part in that vote because he and his traditional United Thai Nation party suffered an election rout in mid-May.

“From now on, I want to tell my retirement from politics. By resigning from the Ruam Thai Sang Chart Party,” he said in a statement on Facebook, according to a Google translation.

Chan-ocha said he would remain a caretaker until a new prime minister is elected. His retirement is likely to put to rest any speculation that he would remain in a permanent capacity.

The country’s young and urban population voted to provide the liberal progressive Move Forward Party an unprecedented majority in the new lower house of Representatives.

This backing should still catch up to the 376 votes that party leader Pita Limjaroenrat had to stake his claim as Thailand’s next prime minister.

Limjaroenrat has 312 from his eight-party coalition in the 500-seat lower house, which suggests he would still require the support of about 64 more votes from the 250-member Senate, a body appointed by Chan-ocha and the royalist military establishment, following the coup of 2014.

However, it is still being decided if its leader, Pita Limjaroenrat, will secure support from enough military-appointed senators to take power.

Some have said they will not support Pita as they disapprove of his party’s promise to reform the nation’s strict lese majesty law, under which criticism of the monarchy can show up to 15 years in prison. Over 250 people, including children, have faced charges under the law since the 2020 pro-democracy demonstration activity.

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