Prawit Chairs First Cabinet Meeting As Caretaker Prime Minister

On Tuesday, deputy prime minister and caretaker prime minister Prawit Wongsuwon chaired his first weekly cabinet meeting after the Constitutional Court suspended General Prayut from his duties.

However, despite the fact that General Prawit had to preside over the meeting after the court’s ruling, the prime minister seat that General Prayut used to occupy remained empty in his honor.

General Prawit said he intended to leave the prime minister’s seat empty to honor General Prayut, as he continues to hold the post despite the Constitutional Court’s decision to suspend him from office.

During the meeting he led for three hours straight without a break, General Prawit sat in the deputy prime minister’s seat.

General Prayut joined via a Zoom video call from his office at the ministry, in his capacity as defense minister, but remained silent as there was no Defense Ministry business on the agenda.

At this weekly meeting, the cabinet approved an amendment to the Prime Minister’s Office order to authorize General Prawit to deal with officials’ transfer and budget matters as interim prime minister.

In a related development on Monday, General Prayut Chan-o-cha made his first public appearance since the Constitutional Court decided to suspend him as prime minister last week.

General Prayut, who is also the defense minister, officially opened the 2022 Defense and Security exhibition at Impact’s Challenger Hall Convention and Exhibition Center, Nonthaburi.

The event, set to close on September 1, showcases advanced weapons and state-of-the-art defense technology from more than 15 countries, including Israel, the US, Germany, South Korea, France, the Czech Republic, and China.

General Prayut gave an opening speech, thanking foreign dignitaries, defense industry entrepreneurs, and military leaders for joining the ASEAN key event.

However, he refused to answer questions related to his eight-year tenure limit. Speaking to reporters, General Prayut only said he was in a very good mood.

It was General Prayut’s first appearance in a week after the Constitutional Court suspended him pending a ruling on when his term as prime minister should end.

The suspension order was issued after the court unanimously voted to accept the opposition’s petition, signed by 171 MPs and filed on August 22, asking it to rule on it amid a debate on the actual date that General Prayut’s term began.