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Defeated PM Prayut bids farewell as he quits politics

THai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha

Former, and current caretaker, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has confirmed he is stepping down as a member of the United Thai Nation Party and leaving politics for good.

Although there will be some stalwart supporters who will no doubt be saddened, the results of Thailand’s recent general election would indicate that far more Thais are happy for him to bow out gracefully following the May 14 drubbing of his UTN party.

A former army general, Prayut came to power in a 2014 military coup that ousted the democratically-elected Yingluck Shinawatra government of the time. Prayut appointed himself PM, saying he intended to “put a smile on everyone’s face” (he even penned lyrics to a song called ‘Bringing Happiness To The Thai People’ which was played ad-nauseum, by decree, every hour on Thai TV and radio stations for months following the coup).

Posting on Facebook yesterday, July 11, Prayut said he had joined the United Thai Nation Party because he wanted a party that “showed huge respect for the country, for religion, and for the monarchy”. It was a split from the Palang Pracharat party and his long-term army stalwart Prawit Wongsuwan as the coalition, cobbled together after the 2019 election, fell into disarray in recent months.

Prayut went on to say he’s always put the best interests of the country first, while listening to his supporters and other party members. He has called on all UTNP members to adhere to the party’s ideology in relation to country, religion, monarchy, and to continue working in the interest of Thai citizens, despite his departure.

“I would want to express my gratitude to the people who supported the United Thai Nation Party and me in the previous election.”

The former PM says his legacy has left Thailand stronger in many areas, citing transport, communications and foreign investment as some of those. He has also pointed to what he feels was a successful handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prayut says Thailand’s response to the virus was so great, it is considered one of the leading countries in dealing with emerging diseases. He didn’t mention Thailand’s vaccine procurement fiasco during his parting words.

“These are the things I have accomplished for the country and the people during the past 9 years as prime minister. I truly hope that the next government would continue to do so.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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