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Thailand PM announces Prayuth Chan-ocha retirement after his party suffers defeat in general elections in May

Prayuth had unseated the government of Yingluck Shinawatra — the sister of billionaire and former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra - in a 2014 military coup.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee Bangkok Published on: July 12, 2023 7:00 IST
Prayuth Chan-ocha has served as PM for nine years since
Image Source : AP Prayuth Chan-ocha has served as PM for nine years since seizing power in a 2014 coup.

Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on Tuesday announced that he will quit politics, two months after his pro-establishment party suffered a stunning defeat in the country's general elections. Prayuth served as Thai PM for nine years after seizing power in a military coup in 2014.

The United Thai Nation Party (Ruam Thai Sang Chart) named Prayuth as their candidate for PM for the general elections held in May. However, they managed to win only 36 out of 500 seats in Thailand's House of Representatives, AP reported.

In a post on the party's Facebook page, Prayuth said, "I would like to announce my retirement from politics by resigning as a member of United Thai Nation. “I’d like to ask the party leader, executives and members to continue their political activities with a strong ideology of protecting the institutions, the nation, the religion and the monarchy, and take care of the Thai people."

However, the former Thai PM did not provide a reason for his sudden decision to retire. Prayuth is one of Thailand's longest-service Prime Ministers, returning after the 2019 election as a candidate for the Palang Pracharath Party, backed by the military. In the 2014 coup, Prayuth unseated the government of Yingluck Shinawatra — the sister of billionaire and former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup.

Meanwhile, the Thailand Parliament is yet to select a new Prime Minister. The top-running Move Forward Party has assembled a majority coalition of eight parties with 312 seats in the Lower House. Their nominee for PM must win a majority vote of 376 of the combined vote of the Lower House and the Senate.

What happened in Thailand's recent elections?

Thailand's opposition racked up a stunning majority of the 500 seats at stake in the race for the House of Representatives, dealing a major blow to the establishment parties and the former general who has led the Southeast Asian country since seizing power in a 2014 coup.

The Move Forward Party emerged as the big winner. It captured a projected 151 seats in the lower House by winning over 24% of the popular vote for 400 constituency seats, and more than 36% of the 100 seats allocated by proportional representation. Tailing a close second was the main opposition Pheu Thai Party, whose combined seat total is projected at 141.

Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat said that he is ready to bring about change as the country's 30th prime minister. However, he is unlikely to get approved due to political differences with the Senate.

(with agency inputs)

ALSO READ | Thailand Election: Countdown begins for junta power as Opposition secure majority I What's next?

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