BANGKOK - A petition calling for the resignation of Thailand's deputy prime minister attracted thousands of signatures on Monday, heaping pressure on the junta's second-in-command to step aside amid a scandal over a luxury watch and undeclared assets.
The scandal has revealed growing signs of disgruntlement among the Thai public and added to uncertainty over whether the junta will call an election later this year that is supposed to move the Southeast Asian nation back toward democracy.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) placed Prawit Wongsuwan, 72, a former army chief who is also defence minister, under investigation after his appearance in a photograph of the cabinet wearing a diamond ring and a luxury watch in December sparked an avalanche of cricticism on social media.
Thai netizens have since identified 25 expensive luxury watches that the former general has worn but not declared to the anti-graft body.
Prawit has said that he borrowed the timepieces from friends, but would resign if that was the public's wish.
According to Thailand's anti-corruption act, all political office holders must fully disclose all of their assets.