Prayut bids farewell to Defence Council, plans ‘some rest’ after leaving office

When asked by reporters what he would do after vacating his office, outgoing prime minister Prayut said he would “take some rest”.

The Nation

The Nation



General Prayut Chan-o-cha, the outgoing prime minister and defence minister, appeared to be in a good mood after chairing his final meeting with the Defence Council on Thursday. PHOTO: THE NATION

August 25, 2023

BANGKOK – Prayut allowed group photos to be taken with reporters at the Defence Ministry after the meeting. He joked that he had offered his successor, Srettha Thavisin, “some introduction” about them.

On more than a few occasions, Prayut was famous for showing his temper when confronted with difficult questions from the media.

Earlier in the day, Prayut had met the incoming prime minister at Government House and took Srettha on a tour of the premises, which lasted about an hour.

When asked by reporters what he would do after vacating his office, Prayut said he would “take some rest”.

But before leaving the Defence Ministry in his vehicle, Prayut told the reporters: “I am not going anywhere yet. State officials retire at 60 but I retire at 70.” He did not elaborate.

When asked about his meeting with Srettha at Government House, the outgoing PM said: “It was good. The meeting came at the right time.”

Prayut said that Srettha had asked for the meeting for them to “get acquainted” with each other. “We both showed mutual respect. We didn’t talk much because the time was limited.”

He said that he had asked the incoming prime minister to take care of certain matters, including work that involves security agencies.

When asked to comment on an observation that Srettha was able to secure a parliamentary majority due to Prayut’s support through senators, the outgoing PM said: “The [next] government is coming through the process. It’s a matter for Parliament. Don’t think it up.”

Srettha, the former president and chief executive of property giant Sansiri Plc, was fielded as one of three prime ministerial candidates of the Pheu Thai Party for the November 14 general election. He managed to secure majority support from Parliament at the joint meeting of both Houses on Tuesday.

Of the 482 approval votes he won, 330 came from MPs and 152 from senators. A majority of 376 votes from 750 parliamentarians is required to secure the top political job.

During his farewell meeting at the Defence Ministry, General Prayut thanked the participating commanders for their support over the past eight years he has been in power. He also asked them to take care of the country, the people, and Thailand’s three pillars — nation, religion, and monarchy — Defence Ministry deputy spokesman Colonel Chitanat Punnothok said at a press conference after the meeting.

General Prayut also asked the senior military and police commanders to take care of their junior personnel and ensure their well-being and welfare benefits, according to the spokesman.

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