Thai army chief General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, who ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in a coup last year, said on Friday he had no desire to be prime minister after a general election promised by year’s end.
“I won’t take it,” Sonthi told Channel 3 Television when asked what he would do if he was offered the top job after elections due to be held under a new constitution.
Sonthi, who led the bloodless Sept. 19 coup — Thailand’s first in 15 years — said he did not favor having the new charter provide for a non-elected prime minister.
“I can assure you that I support the idea that a prime minister must be a member of parliament,” he said, shooting down proposals by some generals and charter-drafters for an appointed prime minister.
Those who favour an appointed prime minister say such a clause would have prevented the political deadlock last year that led ultimately to the coup against Thaksin.
Its backers include Prasong Soonsiri, chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee, and General Winai Phattiyakul, a member of the Council for National Security, as the coup command now call themselves.
Pro-democracy activists say the proposal smacks of a bid by the coup makers to cling on to power. They have vowed to campaign against it in a referendum on the constitution later this year.