At­taches ‘clar­ify’ 2014 putsch

Bangkok Post - - NATIONAL - WASSANA NANUAM

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Prawit Wong­su­won has in­structed mil­i­tary at­taches to ex­plain to the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity the rea­sons be­hind the 2014 coup, say­ing the mil­i­tary had to step in to halt po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence.

Gen Prawit was speak­ing to 27 mil­i­tary at­taches and their deputies from three branches of the mil­i­tary who will be dis­patched to work abroad, in­clud­ing the United States, Europe and Asean, over the next three years, start­ing from next month.

“It is im­por­tant that you tell other coun­tries that Thai­land still ad­heres to demo­cratic prin­ci­ples, as well as makes good on its pledges to the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity,” said Gen Prawit, who urged the of­fi­cers to boost “un­der­stand­ing” of the coun­try’s sit­u­a­tion.

He told the of­fi­cers that fur­ther ef­forts were needed to counter al­le­ga­tions that the regime staged the coup for the sake of its own vested in­ter­ests and power.

“The May 2014 coup was an at­tempt to stop con­flicts be­tween two groups who were fight­ing each other, which caused tur­moil and hin­dered the run­ning of the coun­try. That is why we had to end the sit­u­a­tion,” said Gen Prawit.

The deputy premier in­sisted the Na­tional Coun­cil for Peace and Or­der (NCPO) is rul­ing the coun­try us­ing demo­cratic norms, though no elec­tion has taken place.

Ac­cord­ing to Gen Prawit, Prime Min­is­ter Prayut Chan-o-cha’s ab­so­lute power un­der Sec­tion 44 of the former in­terim char­ter, which is still ef­fec­tive un­der the present con­sti­tu­tion, is be­ing used to ad­dress prob­lems for the ben­e­fit of the peo­ple.

“The NCPO-in­stalled gov­ern­ment has not used Sec­tion 44 to have anyone killed or hurt,” said Gen Prawit. “This gov­ern­ment em­pha­sises demo­cratic norms — please ex­plain this to other coun­tries.”

The deputy premier told the at­taches their roles and mis­sions are sig­nif­i­cant to the coun­try and to the armed forces. They also must ex­plain to for­eign gov­ern­ments about the progress Thai­land has made in main­tain­ing se­cu­rity and na­tional de­fence.

The Yingluck Shi­nawa­tra ad­min­is­tra­tion was top­pled in the coup en­gi­neered by the NCPO, led by then army chief Gen Prayut, on May 22, 2014.

The putsch came af­ter months-long street protests against the Yingluck ad­min­is­tra­tion by the Peo­ple’s Demo­cratic Re­form Com­mit­tee (PDRC), headed by vet­eran politi­cian Suthep Thaug­suban.

The PDRC was formed to protest a bill, pushed by the then gov­ern­ment, to grant a broad-rang­ing amnesty to those who com­mit­ted po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence. Crit­ics said the bill was de­signed to ben­e­fit ousted prime min­is­ter Thaksin Shi­nawa­tra.

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