BANGKOK, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Thursday that he is not going to resign as continually pressed by critics ahead of February's general election.

Prayut told reporters at the Government House that he will stay on as head of government and chief of the ruling National Council for Peace and Order despite persistent calls for him to step down during the running up to the nationwide election, scheduled for February 24, 2019.

The premier called on his critics to stop pressing for him to resign at any time until the end of electoral campaigns during which he will almost certainly be pitted as top candidate for post-election prime minister by Palang Pracharath (power of people's state) Party, in which four members of the Prayut cabinet have joined.

According to deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, the premier and his caretaker government will still be legally empowered to set new policies, disburse government funds and transfer senior government personnel despite the promulgation of a royal decree for the election, scheduled for January 2.

Prayut rose to power by the 2014 coup staged by the military junta under his command as army chief at that time and set up an un-elected government since.