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Thai junta chief Prayuth hints at political role after election

Caretaker prime minister led coup that toppled the civilian government in 2014

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha speaks at a dinner event in Bangkok. He has led the military government for more than four years after the 2014 coup.   © AP

BANGKOK -- Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha on Monday expressed an interest in politics, signaling that he may want to remain in power after next year's general election.

"I can say right now that I'm interested in political positions," Prayuth told reporters at the prime minister's office in the capital. The junta chief did not go into specifics, such as whether he aims to be reappointed after the election tentatively scheduled for February, or which political parties he would work with. New pro-military political parties have been created this year, voicing their support of Prayuth's continued rule.

Prayuth, the former commander in chief of the Royal Thai Army, led a May 2014 coup that overturned the administration of Yingluck Shinawatra and was appointed prime minister the following August.

Although Prayuth has led the caretaker government for over four years, he he has long been ambiguous about his desire to remain in politics when a civilian government returns to power. All eyes are on his decision.

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