Thailand: Prayut accused of attempt to retain power – 28 May 2017

  • Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has come under heavy attack for asking “leading questions” that are seen as an attempt to gather public support for the regime to stay on in power.
  • He came up with the questions following a blast at Phramongkutklao Hospital on 22 May 17 that left 25 people injured.
  • Gen Prayut earlier said that 2018’s general election could be delayed if law and order continues to be disrupted by bomb attacks and other threats to peace.
  • Politicians from major parties including Pheu Thai and the Democrats on 27 May 17 came out to strongly criticise the prime minister after he raised four questions during his weekly television programme on 26 May 17.
  • Gen Prayut said he wanted to ask the public for their opinions on four issues so that their feedback would be used as guidelines for the government’s work.
  • The first question asked whether the next elected government will have good governance. The second question was what should be done if there is no such government after the next election.
  • While Gen Prayut said elections are an important part of democracy, he questioned if elections that fail to take into account matters relating to the country’s future, reforms and national strategy are the right thing.
  • His fourth question asked if politicians who behave improperly should have a chance to run in elections again. If they do and problems occur again, he asked who will deal with them and in what way.
  • Chaturon Chaisaeng, a former deputy prime minister of Pheu Thai, noted that Gen Prayut only wanted the public to give the answers he wanted.

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