General Prayut highlighted his government’s record of stable management of the country and financial prudence while always paying attention to the need to protect the vulnerable when it came to policy and decisions including at times of crisis.

Just days ahead of the key vote in parliament which may either elect 43-year-old Move Forward Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat as Prime Minister ushering in a new era in Thai politics or a political stalemate which could plunge the country into a vortex of instability, the caretaker Prime Minister Prayut Chan ocha who has been in the hot seat since the coup d’état in May 2014, announced his resignation from politics.

An emotional departing statement from outgoing Prime Minister Prayut Chan Ocha suggested he was proud of leaving behind a record of stability, financial prudence and care for the vulnerable. It comes just hours before a decisive parliamentary meeting to elect the kingdom’s 30th Prime Minister with a stark choice between a new era or a potential political crisis.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan Ocha, on Tuesday, formally announced his resignation from politics. It comes days before a decisive vote in Parliament to select Thailand’s next Prime Minister with uncertainty as to whether the candidacy of Move Forward Party leader Mr Pita Limjaroenrat will be successful even though he is supported by an eight-party coalition representing 72% of voters in the May 14th General Election.

In a statement issued at Government House in Bangkok on Tuesday, the 69-year-old leader said: ‘From now on I want to quit politics. I am resigning as a member of the United Thai Nation (Ruam Thai Sang Chart) Party. As Prime Minister, I have worked hard to protect the nation, religion, and monarchy for the benefit of the people. The result is currently bearing fruit for the public.’

Former army chief who took the reins in a crisis highlighted the relative stability since 2014 in the face of many challenges at home and externally

General Prayut went further and said he had succeeded in strengthening the country’s stability and peace while overcoming many obstacles both domestically and internationally. 

General Prayut Chan Ocha, then Commander-in-Chief of the Thai Army, took power on May 22nd, 2014, in a bloodless military coup following months of street protests and unrest which had brought the Thai capital Bangkok to a standstill. 

The government leader, first as leader of the junta or National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and later as an elected Prime Minister, has wielded power now for over nine years in Thailand.

He pointed to the current stability in the country and his track record over the nine years including economic development, improvements in the country’s digital capabilities and mundane matters such as regional water systems and infrastructural improvements as he bowed out.

Highlighted success with the United Thai Nation (Ruam Thai Sang Chart) Party which came third in the May 14th General Election with 12.52% of the vote

General Prayut, in his statement, paid particular attention to the General Election in the run-up to May 14th this year, in which he campaigned as the Prime Ministerial nominee and Chief Advisor of the United Thai Nation (Ruam Thai Sang Chart) Party, saying it was one of the most memorable experiences of his life.

PM Prayut gets back to his youth on Friday in water gun battles on Bangkok’s Khao San Road

The Prime Minister drew attention to the fact that the party, a newcomer to Thai politics, was able to return 36 MPs to the House of Representatives, having won 23 constituency seats and 13 party list seats while obtaining a 12.52% vote share.

In his statement on the social media site Facebook published by the United Thai Nation (Ruam Thai Sang Chart) Party party on Tuesday, General Prayut noted that the party had achieved 4,766,408 votes out of over 38 million cast in the election.

Patriotic principles will be Prayut’s legacy

As he resigned from the party on Tuesday, General Prayut pointed to its strong ideals centred around patriotism, religion and the King as key principles to guide the country’s future.

The caretaker Prime Minister said his experiences travelling the length and breadth of Thailand in the run-up to the recent General Election was a time in his life he would never forget.

In cataloguing his achievements in office, the PM paid particular attention to the country’s fight during the COVID pandemic emergency in which he heralded Thailand’s disease prevention programme as among the best in the world.

He also pointed to the financial discipline exercised by his two governments since 2014, prudently managing state budgets, he emphasised, as well as the level of taxes that were levied on the economy.

Government had always protected the vulnerable in Thai society with its policies, programmes and key decisions while maintaining financial discipline

The outgoing Prime Minister referred to affectionately by some as ‘Uncle Tu’ said that his two governments had always paid particular attention to protecting the vulnerable in Thailand including those on low incomes, children, the elderly or people with disabilities. 

He said both his administrations had been able to maintain financial discipline while behaving in a manner that was fair to all sections of society.

General Prayut, in his parting comments, said that he sincerely hoped that the next government will continue along this path.

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Further reading:

PM’s soothing words for frayed nerves as he says he will continue his role up to the next cabinet

Baht falls to 7-month low as unease grows over chances of Pita Limjaroenrat being elected as PM

New PM in July a turning point for the Thai economy in 2023 which could still see 4% GDP growth recorded

Pita’s election as PM and political certainty would be a green light for new jobs and investment

79 new MPs face scrutiny as Election Commission says only 321 to be declared elected on June 21st

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Dangerous political flux in the aftermath of the General Election is growing and poses a threat

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Kooky Palang Pracharat reports rejected on Tuesday by Prawit as Pheu Thai stands by Pita for PM

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Jatuporn warns Pheu Thai may be turned as he predicts a political impasse. Should wait for 2024

Election vote for Move Forward may have been a cry for help from voters mired in short-term debt

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Pita plots a new coalition government with Pheu Thai but open conflict has already raised its head in the Senate

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