Thai leader Prayut confirms re-election bid

Bangkok, Mar 25 (EFE).- Thailand’s prime minister Prayut Chan-ocha was on Saturday officially named as a candidate for his pro-military United Thai Nation Party for the general elections due to take place on May 14.

Prayut, 69, told a party meeting that if he wins the elections again, he will continue with the policies of his current government to maintain the stability of the country and defend the monarchy, the United Thai Nation Party said on Facebook.

The May elections will be the first polls since 2019, which were held under the former military junta also run by Prayut.

Prayut recently joined the United Thai Nation Party having previously led a government run by the pro-military Palang Pracharath Party.

He was army chief when the military seized power in a bloodless coup in May 2014 after months of anti-government demonstrations.

Of an authoritarian and ultra-monarchical nature, the military leader silenced any dissenting voice at the head of the military junta and delayed elections several times.

In 2019 he was appointed leader of the civilian government after elections that international observers described as lacking transparency.

Between 2020 and 2021, his government used police force to stop student-led demonstrations demanding reforms in the country and the monarchy, a highly taboo subject in Thailand.

Since then, more than 200 people, including minors, have been charged with lèse majesté and sedition for their peaceful activism. Both can carry long prison terms.

According to a poll published last Sunday by the public consultancy NIDA, the two main opposition parties lead voting intentions with 49.75% for the Puea Thai Party and 17.40% for the reformist Move Forward Party.

In third place was the conservative United Thai Nation Party, with 11.75% of support, ahead of the Democratic Party with 5.40%.

According to NIDA, 38.20% of those consulted supporter political newcomer Paetongtarn Shinawatra of the Puea Thai Party to become prime minister while Prayut is polling at 15.65%.EFE


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