Opposition: Five more years of Prayut premiership would mean more debt, conflict and stagnation

Opposition figures spoke out Friday against Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha’s plea for another five years in power.

“If the Prime Minister stays on for another five years the absence of social, economic and political development will persist and resources will continue to be wasted by the same lack of vision,” Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn told Thai Enquirer on Friday.

During his visit to check on flooding in Nakhon Si Thammarat on Thursday, Prayut asked his supporters to give him five more years of patience to deliver. He promised that everything in the country will improve from all the new projects and new structures that his administration has been putting in place.

There was a rumour that Prayut is looking to dissolve parliament and hold elections because of his falling popularity. Critics have also said that the premier and senior figures have been using the flooding to gain more votes via their official visits to provide relief.

Wiroj said public and household debts, both at a record level, will keep on piling up if Prayut is still guiding the country’s economy over the next five years, because of his populist policies and lack of new ideas.

He also said the ongoing social and political conflicts will escalate if Prayut continues to be in power, because he is the problem.

“He is not a person who can convince people who are at conflict in this society to talk with each other and accept each other’s differences,” he said.

“General Prayut is also the cause and an important detonator of the ticking social time bomb. If we continue to allow this detonator to continue to tick, the bomb will eventually go off one day,” he said.  

Deputy leader of the Pheu Thai Party Pichai Naripthaphan told Thai Enquirer on Friday that Prayut’s comments will lead to a lack of national confidence.

“Thailand is already the sick man of South-East Asia and his lack of self-awareness and this comment would further destroy the level of confidence that people have in this country,” he said.

Pichai said Prayut is having a tough time trying to pass any law, such as the new Communicable Disease Act and financial bills, and his popularity is heavily declining right now so it is difficult to see how his administration can last another five years as a government.

“Do not try to fool yourself because if you fool yourself, whatever you saw is not going to be real,” he said.

“He should know by now that the best thing he can do for the country right now is to resign so the country can recover. You have to stop trying to push it because you no longer have the ability, the knowledge or any credit left in this country,” he said.

He also said that there is also a question over the legality of his premiership over the coming years.  

Prayut came into power via a coup that he led in August 2014. He was then picked by junta-appointed senators to be the current Prime Minister in 2019.

According to the law, Thai premier can stay in power for a maximum of eight years and the Pheu Thai Party had last week raised a question whether Prayut can continue to be in power past August 2022.

They said that his first term should be counted since he seized power in 2014, not when he was picked in 2019.

Prayut on Tuesday instructed Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, who is in charge of legal affairs, to look into the legality of the issue. Wissanu said on Wednesday that now is not the time to be asking such a question as it would complicate things.

“There is still another 11 months left and there is nothing to worry about it,” he said.

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