Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has vowed to stay on, despite calls from opposition MPs for him to step down, as he thanked them for not suggesting he attempt to escape legal proceedings, in an apparent snub to former prime ministers who have fled Thailand.
Addressing MPs at the end of the debate in Parliament, at about 3am on Thursday, the Prime Minister said that he was ridiculed and insulted by opposition MPs throughout the one-day debate, but he would tolerate them “because I always treat you with respect and have never used such language to you.”
He specifically mentioned the word “dictator”, which was repeatedly aimed at him throughout the debate by the opposition MPs.
The Prime Minister brushed aside the opposition MPs’ calls for him to step down, saying that he still has a job to do for the people and the country.
During the debate yesterday, opposition chief whip and Pheu Thai MP Suthin Klangsaeng said he appreciated that the Prime Minister is so dedicated to his work that he has lost weight, but added that hard work is useless “if he is not up to expectations.”
If Thailand were engaged in a war today, Prime Minister Prayut would be the right man, said Mr. Suthin, adding “but we are now facing an economic war and if he cannot handle it, then someone else should.”
He urged the Prime Minister to resign now, “so that people’s hope will be restored.”
Kao Klai party leader Pita Limjaroenrat said Thailand will plunge deeper into the abyss, with its economic performance the worst in Asia, if the Prime Minister does not step down now or in the foreseeable future.
Accusing the Prime Minister of lacking leadership qualities, he said that the Government has failed in all aspects, economic, social and political, after almost six years in office.
“There is no precedent for the current protests against the Government by so many students, which have spread across the country,” said Pita, adding that the hopelessness and failures rest with the Prime Minister “so if he cannot solve the problems, he should step aside before the country suffers more than it can recover from.”
Pheu Thai MP of Roi-et province Ms. Jiraporn Sinthuprai said during the debate that she had already prepared a resignation letter for the Prime Minister to sign.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)