Prayuth Tells Media to Respect People’s Voices

Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha hands back list of questions to a reporter March 26, 2019, at Government House.

BANGKOK — Junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha on Tuesday urged everyone to respect what people voted for, in a response from media inquiries about whether his party should form the next government.

Gen. Prayuth also called for peace and order in the days leading up to King Vajiralongkorn’s coronation in early May, and said he would continue to rule as the prime minister until a new government is in place.

“I respect every vote from every person who came out to vote on that day. I sincerely thank them with my heart. I’d like to thank the media, too. I’d like to tell everyone today that I feel more comfortable,” Prayuth said. “This is not about holding on to power or perpetuating my power. If I wanted that, I wouldn’t have allowed an election to take place.”

“What the people voices say, let it be that way. Learn to respect people’s voices,” he added.

Prayuth was speaking at Government House after his weekly cabinet meeting. He was handed a list of questions from reporters at the beginner of the news conference, including his take on the ongoing attempts to form a government, whether the 250 unelected Senators will vote for him as the new prime minister and a fiery op-ed written by ex-leader Thaksin Shinawatra.

However, the junta leader handed the paper back to reporters and said he is not involved in political affairs.

“All the questions submitted by the reporters, I’d like to return them all. I’m not answering any of these questions,” Prayuth said. “I’d like to also clarify to the media that I am not involved in the formation of the government. Those matters are entirely the business of political factions.”

Instead, he said people should focus on maintaining an orderly society for the coronation of His Majesty the King.

“I want to use this opportunity to lead Thailand toward sustainable peace under the principles of King Rama IX, Queen Sirikit, and King Rama X,” Prayuth said.

His party, Phalang Pracharath, is currently seeking allies to form a coalition government, despite placing second at Sunday’s election in numbers of MP seats.

When reporters asked whether he’s in a better mood today because he will get to serve another term as prime minister, Prayuth said the question “makes me uncomfortable.”