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Thai king appoints General Prayuth Chan-Ocha chair of the ruling council

May 26, 2014, 9:53 UTC+3
May 22, the general has already chaired this structure by his own order; however, it is believed that the king’s appointment will give him more importance in the eyes of the nation
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General Prayuth Chan-Ocha

General Prayuth Chan-Ocha

© EPA/NARONG SANGNAK

BANGKOK, May 26. /ITAR-TASS/. King of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej has appointed on Monday General Prayuth Chan-Ocha by his order as Chair of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), which has assumed legislative and executive power after the military coup.

The NCPO reported that on the occasion of issuing this order, a special closed ceremony with participation of the military leadership took place in Bangkok.

General Prayuth Chan-Ocha stated that the military junta would be replaced by an interim civil government, and new parliamentary elections would later take place in the kingdom.

Chan-Ocha made these statements on Monday during his first news conference after the king issued his order on the appointment of the general as chairperson of the NCPO. However, he refused to set any timeframes for the mentioned changes. Prayuth Chan-Ocha also declined to elaborate whether he saw himself as a future interim prime minister. In September, the 60-year-old Chan-Ocha will have to abandon the military service and retire.

THE ARMY’S ROLE IN THE POLITICAL LIFE OF THAILAND

The main task of the Royal Armed Forces of Thailand is to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the kingdom, as well as to protect it from internal threats.

The military stand behind 18 state coups since 1943. The last coup took place in 2006, when Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted.

Then, a new Constitution was drafted and adopted with the participation of the military. This Constitution currently suits neither the government, nor the opposition.

The current coup was preceded by protests continuing for more than six months. During this period, dozens of people were killed and hundreds were injured.

Situation in Thailand after military coup

NCPO has been set up May 22 by the military leadership as a result of the coup. General Prayuth Chan-Ocha by his own order became the leader of this structure, which assumed all executive and legislative power in the country. However, observers believe, the appointment of Chan-Ocha by the monarch will give him more significance in the eyes of the Thai nation. The kingdom’s residents are famous for their reverent attitude towards the 86-year-old Bhumibol Adulyadej, whose ruling became the longest in the country’s history.

In the recent three years, a wave of anti-military protests embraced Thailand despite the ban on mass rallies issued by the NCPO. The rally in Bangkok on May 25 gathered up to 1,000 people, who were protesting against the state coup. Local media report about insignificant clashes of protesters with the military.

Amid the tidal wave, which increases after the arrests of almost all key politicians backing the previous government, the NCPO has issued an order on creating a military court. Now it will review all the cases linked to violations of martial law in the country, as well as to the lese-majesty, which in Thailand is considered a grave crime.

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