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Move to block Prayuth becoming PM

THE JUNTA chief's nomination as the next prime minister met with some resistance yesterday, with an activist seeking a Constitutional Court ruling on whether it is unconstitutional for the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) to name General Prayuth Chan-ocha as Thailand's 29th PM.

Srisuwan Janya, secretary general of the Association of Constitution Protecting Organisations, said he would today petition the Ombudsman's Office to file a case with the Constitutional Court.

The activist said he believed that it was against the provisional charter for the NLA to vote for the junta chief to become head of the next government because it was a conflict of interest and a violation of the code of conduct.

However, NLA member Wanlop Tangkananurak said he did not think it was against the interim charter, which required the assembly to elect the prime minister.

But Wanlop said Srisuwan had the right to bring the case to court through the Ombudsman's Office.

General Prayuth, who is set to retire as Army chief at the end of September, was asked whether he was ready to become prime minister. He said: "Please let the country go forward first at this time."

He said he had no worries assuming the seat of government head.

Another NLA member, Klanarong Chantik, said he believed the assembly would seriously scrutinise the new government, expected to be dominated by junta figures, despite many of its members coming from the military.

Klanarong, who is also a member of the National Anti-Corruption Commission, said the NLA would be under the spotlight as the national legislative body.

He said the public was obviously against corruption and he did not think they would stay idle if there were irregularities.

However, red-shirt movement spokesman Thanawut Wichaidit said he did not believe the NLA's scrutiny of the new government would be serious or sincere. He said most of the NLA members "are like brothers" of General Prayuth and other military figures expected to join his Cabinet.

But red-shirt leader Korkaew Pikulthong offered his congratulations to Prayuth.

Korkaew, a politician from Pheu Thai Party, whose government was ousted in the May 22 coup, suggested that the new administration lift martial law in order to help improve the country's image and boost tourism.


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