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Thursday, February 29, 2024

From coup-maker to candidate? Thai junta chief mulls election run


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Thai Junta Chief: Thai junta chief Prayuth Chan-ocha is known for losing his temper in public, but recently he has displayed a softer side amid speculation he may run for office in the first elections since the army seized power in 2014.

The general-turned-prime minister has appeared on state television cooking a chicken curry for villagers and riding a tractor with farmers. Last month, he released one of his trademark ballads, which has been played repeatedly on the radio.

“Don’t let anyone destroy things like in the past … Hold our hands sincerely and go forward together,” goes the song, which was written by the 64-year-old leader himself.

Prayuth, in short, has been acting a lot like a politician – even as he keeps the country waiting to hear if he will be a candidate in a long-delayed general election to restore civilian rule, now set for March 24.

The election is seen as a battle between voters loyal to ousted populist prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister Yingluck – both deposed in military coups – and establishment-minded traditionalists who accuse the Shinawatras of corruption.

A pro-military party, Palang Pracharat, last week asked Prayuth to be its prime ministerial candidate.

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