Thailand`s coup leader likely to become Prime Minister

Since the bloodless coup in May, the military government has been the sole authority for all matters regarding the state.

PTI| Last Updated: Aug 20, 2014, 19:41 PM IST

Bangkok: Thailand`s junta chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha, who seized power from an elected government in a bloodless coup May 22, is likely to be chosen as new Prime Minister of the country, a move that will strengthen military`s grip on the country.

Military-appointed National Legislative Assembly (NLA) will nominate a candidate or more for the post of Prime Minister tomorrow amid speculation that 60-year-old Prayuth could be the next Premier.

Since the bloodless coup in May, the military government has been the sole authority for all matters regarding the state.

A candidate for Prime Minister will need at least 99 votes in 197-member NLA to win the post.

Somchai Sawaengkarn, an NLA member, allayed concerns voiced by many people that the vote would lack legitimacy if Prayuth is voted prime minister.

He said if Prayuth wanted to be prime minister he could simply appoint himself to the post without seeking approval from the NLA.

Prayuth seized power on May 22, two weeks after Yingluck Shinawatra, the country`s first woman prime minister, was forced to resign following a controversial court ruling for abusing power.

Thailand has been embroiled by political chaos since Yingluck`s brother Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted as prime minister in a coup in 2006.

Thaksin is on a self-imposed exile in Dubai since 2008 to avoid prison for a corruption conviction that he insists was politically motivated.

Yingluck could also face criminal charges in connection with a controversial rice subsidy scheme.

If found guilty, Yingluck could face a jail term as well as a five-year ban from politics.