The hopes of those wanting to see Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha speak on stage for the first time as a candidate for the Phalang Pracharat Party this weekend in Nakhon Ratchasima province were dashed on Wednesday.
After chairing a meeting at Government House on Wednesday morning, Prayut said with a smile that he will continue coming to work “as usual” and not help campaign for the party in the lead-up to the March 24 election poll.
Prayut was selected by Phalang Pracharat Party as its sole candidate for premier. Leading party executives were former Cabinet ministers in his government.
The party had earlier said that Prayut would speak from the party’s stage in Nakhon Ratchasima, which was his birth province.
However the plan has been changed for fears that his appearance and statements could potentially violate the election laws, as Prayut remains in his prime ministerial seat and is also the chief junta leader.
A source close to Prayut also revealed that Prayut will not travel to Nakhon Ratchasima to join the campaign in any way this weekend, and is also not scheduled to participate in the Bangkok campaign as he wished to fully recover from a recent cataract operation.
A second party source confirmed that party plans to have Prayut take the stage in its nationwide election campaign had been called off. After discussion and careful consideration of the pros and cons, the party concluded that it might not be worth the risk, said the source.
The party would, however, use General Prayut to help campaign in Bangkok, but in an informal way so as to avoid violating any laws.
Earlier party plans including a strong campaign presence for Prayut as its candidate for prime minister. The initial idea was to have Prayut participate nationwide, including taking the stage in the party’s four key regions for vote getting, starting with his birthplace, Nakhon Ratchasima, this Sunday.
However, Prayut yesterday expressed concern over participating, saying that it exposed him to the risk of being targeted by opponents.