BANGKOK, May 16 (CNA) - Deputy leader of the United Thai Nation Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said on Monday (May 15) he does not think incumbent Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will continue his political career after their party suffered losses in the country’s general election.

“He hasn’t mentioned it but I think he may have to stop,” Mr Thanakorn told local media.

He referred to 69-year-old Prayut, who is running for the premiership under the banner of the United Thai Nation Party.

The latest preliminary results from the Election Commission of Thailand show his rival parties Move Forward and Pheu Thai in the top two spots of the electoral race on Sunday.

The Move Forward Party came first with 152 seats, followed by the Pheu Thai Party with 141 seats. As for the United Thai Nation Party, it came fifth with 36 seats.

Mr Thanakorn expressed his support for Gen Prayut and shared his admiration for the retired general who has served as prime minister for more than eight years.

“He has worked for the country for his whole life. He has served the country for about eight years as prime minister. I believe Thai people nationwide know he has done so much for the country and that he has never been tainted by anything – no corruption whatsoever,” said the deputy party leader.

“I believe that at least, Gen Prayut or Uncle Tu will remain in the hearts of Thais for a long time.”

Gen Prayut became prime minister in 2014 after leading a coup d’etat to overthrow Ms Yingluck Shinawatra’s democratically elected government.

His military junta ruled Thailand for nearly five years before a general election was held in 2019 under a new constitution written by a military-appointed committee.

At that time, Gen Prayut was the sole prime ministerial candidate of the pro-junta party Palang Pracharat. The party managed to form the government with its political allies, although it was the Pheu Thai Party that had a majority of seats in the Lower House.

Prayut joined the electoral race on Sunday, hoping to stay in power after more than eight years on the job.