Thailand's army chief is all set to become the country's next prime minister after the junta- picked national assembly today overwhelmingly approved his nomination, consolidating the military's hold on power three months after he ousted the elected government in a coup.
60-year-old Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha was named as the next prime minister after the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) voted 191-0 in his favour in an uncontested race. Altogether 194 of the existing 197 NLA members signed in to attend today's meeting to vote on the prime minister.
The NLA would forward the result of today's meeting to the Thai king for further endorsement. Tuang Intachai, an NLA member, nominated Prayuth for the prime minister's post.
The nomination was seconded by 188 members, more than the required one-fifth of the 197 currently sitting on the NLA. The three abstentions were the NLA president and the two vice-presidents. Prayuth said he was ready to begin work as Thailand's 29th prime minister.
Visiting the 21st Infantry Regiment in Chon Buri province while the National Legislative Assembly unanimously voted him as premier, Prayuth, Thailand's army chief and chairman of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), said he wouldn't make any moves until he is officially named prime minister after the royal endorsement, the Bangkok Post reported.
He promised that once he assumed office, his cabinet would strictly adhere to the agenda and timeline set by the NCPO. The junta's road map requires comprehensive reforms before a new general election is held. The military regime earlier said it expected new polls to be held in late 2015.
The Pheu Thai Party, whose government Prayuth's NCPO ousted in May, urged him to make abolishment of martial law his first priority. Prayuth imposed martial law on May 20 before seizing power from the Pheu Thai caretaker government two days later.
The military seized power on May 22, two weeks after Yingluck Shinawatra, the country's first woman prime minister, was forced to resign following a controversial court ruling for abusing power.