Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha greets people as he opens the upgraded Khon Kaen train station in Khon Kaen province on Wednesday. (Government House photo)
The Ombudsman ruled on Thursday that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha can be a prime ministerial candidate because he is not considered a state official as prohibited by the constitution.
Raksagecha Chaechai, secretary-general of the Office of the Ombudsman, said the constitution prohibited a state official from being a prime ministerial candidate and the office received a complaint about the candidacy of Gen Prayut regarding his status as the chief of the National Council for Peace and Order.
Four criteria define a state official and Gen Prayut met only two of the criteria, Mr Raksagecha said. Gen Prayut has the authority to enforce laws and receives salaries.
Meanwhile, he did not meet two other criteria: being appointed or elected by law and being under the supervision of the state.
The NCPO chief was royally appointed and was not appointed or elected by law. Therefore, the NCPO chief did not have the same status as employees or officials of government organisations or state enterprises, Mr Raksagecha said.
The ruling responded to the complaint from activist Srisuwan Janya who questioned the status of Gen Prayut as the prime ministerial candidate of the Palang Pracharath Party.