The army chief says he has never contacted ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra to lobby him over the nomination of the new defense minister.
Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha insisted he has never talked with ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra or any party about the appointment of General Yutthasak Sasiprapa as defense minister.
Prayuth said the selection of the defense minister depends on the government’s decision and the army has no power to bargain.
He said both outgoing Defense Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan and former army chief General Anupong Paochinda are eligible candidates for the post.
He added the rumor that Thaksin will use the defense minister post to bargain for his return to the country without being jailed is impossible given the matter must proceed under the law.
The general suggested the next defense minister should be capable, experienced and well abreast of the current situation.
He maintained he will discuss the nomination for the post only with the people who can make a decision about it.
Prayuth went on to say he is ready to meet Pheu Thai’s prospective premier Yingluck Shinawatra as he has said he can talk with any party after the election and all MP-elects are endorsed by the Election Commission
He said criticism against Yingluck's administration should be made after it is given some time to work.