Special power will be used when necessary, say Prayut while promising general elections 'will be held in about a year'
PRIME MINISTER Prayut Chan-o-cha has reminded the public that he will still have absolute powers under Article 44 of the post-coup interim charter, even though a new constitution will be in place in a few months.
In his national address last night, General Prayut said he would employ his powers when necessary to safeguard national security and peace.
The PM said there are people “who remain dissatisfied with this state of peacefulness, who persist on damaging the country and even our highest institution, all for their own personal gain, through the use of online media and information sent from abroad.”
He said, “At least the authority of the NCPO remains, as does the availability of Article 44, for the time being. So I call on those who still wish us harm, to respect the laws and the will of the people, as expressed through the August 7 referendum.”
A transitory clause of the draft charter, approved by a majority in Sunday’s referendum, means the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) will still be in power until a new Cabinet is formed after the next general election. It also allows General Prayut, as head of the NCPO, to retain all the powers and duties given to him under the provisional charter.
The new constitution is expected to be in place in late October or early February.
“The promulgation of the new constitution is a promise that the general elections will be held in about a year from now. In the meantime, the government and the Thai people have the responsibility to work together to maintain peace and carry on with national development,” Prayut said.
The international community, led by Western powers, earlier called for relaxation of the restrictions on rights and freedoms before the next election.
General Prayut also reiterated that the next general election would be held “about a year from now”.
He called for continued cooperation from the public in maintaining the country’s peaceful atmosphere, especially in the lead-up to the general elections.
He urged all parties involved to accept the results of the referendum, in which almost 60 per cent of the 50 million eligible voters turned out.
“Let us set aside our differences for now and move forward together to confront the complex challenges that lie ahead of us, in making progress, reforming our country, doing away with our conflicts, and reconciling with each other under a new set of rules and regulations,” Prayut said.
Meanwhile, the NCPO yesterday called on all parties to accept the decision of the people in Sunday’s referendum.
“This was not about winning or losing. The result reflects the people’s demand and all the sides should respect the referendum result,” NCPO spokesman Colonel Winthai Suvaree said.
He said that those who have used political rhetoric to question the vote result could be viewed as failing to respect the majority’s decision.