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Bangkok Post
Bangkok Post

Prayut concedes his time as PM is over

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha speaks to reporters at Government House on Tuesday. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha made remarks on Tuesday suggesting he sees little opportunity for him returning to power for another term.

Gen Prayut was responding to reporters' questions about his political plans as the bloc led by the Move Forward Party works to form a new coalition government.

He seemed amused when reporters asked about the possibility of smaller parties nominating him as prime minister if the MFP or Pheu Thai -- the winner and first runner-up in the general election, respectively -- fail to cobble together a coalition government.

"Don't think that far ahead," Gen Prayut said.

Pressed on the prospects of the coalition materialising as planned, Gen Prayut -- chief strategist of the UTN Party -- said he was not involved and that his focus was on working as part of the caretaker government.

He said he was not afraid of being investigated after the change of power.

Bhumjaithai leader Anutin Charnvirakul, in his first media interview since the May 14 election, said on Tuesday he never held talks or had any agreement with ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra amid rumours of a "secret deal".

He insisted his recent meeting with Srettha Thavisin, one of Pheu Thai's three prime ministerial candidates, at a football match in the UK had nothing to do with politics.

A photo of the pair circulated last week after former massage parlour tycoon Chuvit Kamolvisit made a Facebook post about their allegedly secret negotiations if the MFP failed to gather more than half of the House seats required to form a government. According to Mr Chuvit, the secret deal was called "come home", a reference to Thaksin, who recently announced his intention to return to Thailand next month.

Mr Anutin said Bhumjaithai stood by its word that the election winner should be the first to lead any efforts to put together a coalition government when asked if the MFP-led coalition would take shape.

He declined to discuss the prospect of the other camp forming a rival coalition, saying the caretaker government would do its best and adhere to political etiquette until a new government was sworn in.

The Bhumjaithai leader said the party would stick to its stance when it came to the prime minister vote when asked if the party's MPs would support MFP leader Pita Limjaroenrat in the top job.

Asked if the party had made an assessment of the political situation, he said it was still waiting for the Election Commission to endorse the election results officially.

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