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Caretaker PM Prayut resigns and retires

Prayut Chan-O-Cha, the current acting prime minister of Thailand, made the announcement today, July 11, 2023, that he is formally leaving the Ruam Thai Sang Chart party and politics. His nine-year political career in Thailand, which was launched by a coup in 2014, is now over. Prayut will complete the remainder of his term as caretaker prime minister, which is almost up as a vote for the next PM is scheduled for this Thursday, July 13.

Prayut stated in a succinct statement that he “Done his best.”

In addition to being in control during the turbulent years of COVID-19 restrictions and border closures, Prayut was the leader of Thailand during a military-led coup and was a polarizing character who was extremely unpopular with progressive and liberal voters, particularly young people. He did, however, have a core group of military and Royalist supporters who remained loyal to him during his time in office.

Prayut ruled Thailand for nine years in total, and his resignation truly ushers in the country’s new era, which might start as early as this Thursday’s vote for prime minister. Pita Limjaroenrat, the front-runner who is extremely charismatic and well-liked, is favored by many voters to become the next prime minister, but this is not a given because members of the Senate appointed by the Junta have threatened to block his appointment.

Pita also has a legal stormcloud hanging over him in the form of an ongoing legal dispute regarding his ownership of media shares, which could disqualify him from serving as prime minister.

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