Attaches ‘clarify’ 2014 putsch
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.