Prayut coy about poll aspirations

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has brushed aside politicians' calls for him to confirm whether he will run in the next general election.

Gen Prayut is remaining tight-lipped about whether he will contest the next general election, saying he did not want to respond to any questions.

"It is nonsense, and it is not the time to talk about the matter," the prime minister said.

"Why not pay attention to solving problems facing the people, instead of taking an interest in politics?"

Acting Pheu Thai Party secretary-general, Phumtham Wechayachai, on Thursday urged Gen Prayut to make clear his position on the matter, saying it would be better for Gen Prayut to make a decision to run in the next poll and let the public decide whether to vote for him to remain in office.

A Nida Poll survey showed most respondents favoured the military government setting up its own political party. Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon confirmed the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) will step down from power when a newly elected government assumes office.

Asked to comment on calls for Gen Prayut to run in the next election, Gen Prawit said: "If future circumstances turn out in a particular way, the prime minister may have to run. There is no knowing. It is the prime minister's personal matter."

Gen Prawit also insisted that the roadmap for the general election, expected some time next year, will remain unchanged and it will not be delayed by the controversy surrounding the primary voting system proposed under the organic bill on political parties.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam yesterday said he knew nothing about rumours that some members of the National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) who have resigned from the body are preparing to form a new party to support Gen Prayut remaining in office.

"It's all right if they want to resign. If they have resigned so as to support someone, let them speak about it themselves," Mr Wissanu said.

Under the new charter, NRSA members wanting to run in the next election were required to resign within 90 days of the charter coming into effect.

The bill on plans and procedures for national reform was passed by the National Legislative Assembly on June 22, which will end the life of the NRSA.

Once the bill is published in the Royal Gazette, the assembly will be replaced by the national reform committees to work in 11 areas.

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