(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha’s party named Pirapan Salirathavibhaga as its second candidate for the top job in the run-up to Thailand’s general election in May. 

The announcement was made by Prayuth at the United Thai Nation Party’s rally on Saturday in Nonthaburi province, northwest of Bangkok, where it unveiled MP candidates for 400 constituencies nationwide. 

Party leader Pirapan, 64, is a political veteran who was appointed in December to the crucial post of secretary-general to Prayuth. He earlier served as justice minister in the Abhisit Vejjajiva administration. 

Under Thai election law each party can nominate as many as three candidates in advance, to be considered for the position of prime minister. 

United Thai Nation, set up in 2021 to back Prayuth as a primary prime minister candidate, faces competition from Thailand’s main political parties, who are trying to woo voters with promises ranging from steep increases in cash handouts and wages to suspending debt repayments. 

READ: Thai PM’s Party to Prioritize Foreign Investments As Polls Loom

Prayuth, a former army chief, is seeking to stay in power despite a steady decline in his popularity and a constitutional term limit that would allow him to stay on for just two more years. A survey published on March 19 showed Prayuth falling to the third position in the ranking of preferred candidates for prime minister.  

Thailand will hold a general election on May 14 following the dissolution of parliament on March 20. More than 52 million voters will elect 500 members to the lower house in a two-ballot system that will see 100 seats allocated based on the proportion of votes that each party receives. 

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