Thailand took a step toward disbanding its ruling junta yesterday when His Majesty the King officially sanctioned Prayuth Chan-o-cha to serve as prime minister.
In a swearing-in ceremony televised nationwide, 65-year-old Prayuth, who was elevated to the role by a parliament stacked with his supporters last week, vowed to perform his duties ethically and be prime minister to “all Thais.”
“I wish to thank all senators and members of the parliament for performing their duties for the nation, and to political parties that gave me the opportunity to be the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, to continue to serve the country and all Thai citizens,” he said, according to an official translation.
Prayuth also thanked the king and vowed to defend nation, religion and monarchy. No mention was made of the constitution, but Prayuth said he would be receptive to feedback.
“I will listen to the voices of the people while fulfilling my duty to move forward and develop the country in all economic and social aspects, including eradicating corruption, reducing inequality and elevating the welfare of the people, especially those in [the] agricultural and commerce sectors, through effective and transparent government spending with cooperation from the private sector,” he said.
Among politicians attending the ceremony were Democrat Party secretary-general Chalermchai Sri-on and Bhumjaithai Party leader Anutin Charnvirakul.
Gen. Prayuth, who seized power five years ago in a coup d’etat, affirmed that a new cabinet would be formed as soon as possible.
Once the new cabinet is in place, both Prayuth’s junta and his constitutionally vested absolute power will cease to exist.
Listen to Prayuth’s full speech with English subtitles here: