Thai PM Prayut joins new political party, eying second term

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha says he has joined a new political party launched by his supporters with an eye on another term in office.

Appearing at the United Thai Nation Party general assembly on Monday, Prayut said he wants to continue tackling a range of issues the country is facing if the opportunity arises.

He expressed his intention to be the party's prime ministerial candidate in a general election that must be held by May.

The former military chief led a coup in 2014 and became interim prime minister. He assumed the prime ministerial post after a general election in 2019.

Under a Constitutional Court ruling in 2022, Prayut would only be allowed to serve until 2025 even if he is elected again. That is viewed as one reason for his declining popularity.

Paetongtarn Shinawatra, the second daughter of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and a member of Pheu Thai Party -- the leading opposition force -- aims to take back power. The party has yet to formally nominate her, but polls show she tops the list of preferred prime ministerial candidates.