Thai junta leader selected as PM by hand-picked parliament

Thai junta leader selected as PM by hand-picked parliament

PanARMENIAN.Net - The army chief who deposed Thailand’s civilian government three months ago has been selected as the kingdom’s prime minister. General Prayuth Chan-ocha was the only candidate nominated for the job, Voice of America reported.

A handpicked legislature stacked with military officers held a vote Thursday, August 21 to select the country’s prime minister.

One by one, all of the appointed legislators were called on by name. They stood and verbally endorsed the nomination of the only candidate: army General Prayuth Chan-ocha.

A few minutes later, after 191 legislators voted, the assembly’s president, Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, declared “the name of General Prayuth Chan-ocha as elected prime minister is accepted and proposed” for royal endorsement.

The approval by the frail 86-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej is seen as a formality and expected within a week.

The general did not attend the legislative session. He was at a military base for a ceremony marking the anniversary of an infantry regiment.

Criticism of the authoritarian process to select a new government leader is muted in Thailand. Martial law remains in effect. No public demonstrations are permitted. The domestic media operates under the scrutiny of the military.

But Thai critics abroad, some of whom are now considered fugitives by the junta, as well as anonymous commentators on social media are decrying the process. Some made humorous comparisons between the current government structure in Thailand and that of North Korea, where a single political party and a rubber stamp legislature have always been the rule, Voice of America said.

General Prayuth deposed the government on May 22, arguing it was necessary to end the political turmoil following six months of dueling and sometimes deadly street rallies.

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