News / Asia

Thailand Army Chief Now Prime Minister

  • Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha speaks after he accepted a royal command issued by King Bhumibol Adulyadej certifying his appointment as the country's 29th premier in Bangkok, Aug. 25, 2014.
  • A soldier stands guard during the royal endorsement ceremony of Thailand's newly appointed Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, at the Royal Army headquarters in Bangkok, Aug. 25, 2014.
  • Workers trim bushes in preparation for the new cabinet at the Government House in Bangkok, Aug. 25, 2014.
  • Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha opens a container before he accepts a royal endorsement certifying his appointment as the country's 29th premier, in front of the portrait of King Bhumibol Adulyadej in Bangkok, Aug. 25, 2014.
Thailand Army Chief Now Prime Minister

The army general who led the May 22 coup in Thailand officially assumed the post as the kingdom’s prime minister Monday.

General Prayuth Chan-ocha bowed before a large photograph of King Bhumibol Adulyadej just after the reading of a palace decree naming him the kingdom’s 29th prime minister.

The acting secretary-general of the national legislative assembly, Norarat Pimsen, proclaimed the royal assent, stating, “His Majesty the King has endorsed General Prayuth Chan-ocha as prime minister to govern the country from this day forward.”

The general, over a span of three months, has imposed martial law, deposed the civilian government and appointed a legislature filled with military officers that unanimously selected him to become prime minister.

General Prayuth, immediately following Monday’s brief ceremony at Army headquarters, vowed to submit his selections for his cabinet in October for royal approval.

General Prayuth, still dressed in his formal white army uniform, speaking for the first time as prime minister said Thailand is confronted by many problems. He notes these need to be solved ahead of the realization next year of the ASEAN Economic Community, in which Thailand, as the region’s second-largest economy, is expected to play a leading role.

The 60-year-old general, who is due to retire from the army next month, is the first coup leader to serve as prime minister since 1957.

General Prayuth was also a key figure in the coup in 2006 that ousted then-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the billionaire telecommunications tycoon whose political parties have won every national election for more than a decade.

His younger sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, was forced from office shortly before this year’s coup after an extended period of political turmoil.

Officials of the junta, known as the National Council for Peace and Order, say General Prayuth wants to permanently eradicate the influence of the Shinawatra clan.

Thailand has been polarized between the mainly urban royalist elite and middle class who are strongly opposed to the Shinawatras and their main backers, who are mostly the rural poor.

With Thailand still under martial law, giving authorities broad powers to round up dissenters for interrogation, opposition to the junta has been effectively squelched inside the country.

Thai critics abroad, most of whom are now considered fugitives by the military government, have condemned General Prayuth's actions as an illegal power grab.

The coup has also been criticized by Western governments, which are urging a quick return to democracy.

The army chief has pledged to create a “Thai-style” democracy, which he contends “will return happiness to the people.”

The reform process, to be followed by elections, he has said will take at least one year.

In his seven-minute address Monday the general reiterated a call for qualified people to join the national reform council the junta is establishing. The new prime minister says he wants members from political and civic groups, economists, academics, civil servants and the media, among others.

General Prayuth declared, “I do not want anyone to be left behind in the democratic process.”


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: notdisappointed from: Bangkok, Thailand
September 05, 2014 12:02 AM
Reuters and VOA the mouthpieces of Western capitalism and Wall Street still get their facts wrong with their half-truths and prevarications.

Firstly it's not a "white military uniform", but a formal dress uniform for Government officials. By reiterating well-worn cliches and unsubstantiated hearsay about "protest by royalist establishment supporters" and "urban royalist elites and middle-class against the rural poor" and populist thaksin and his surrogates, these two biased and racially predjudiced reports harm rather than tell the truth.

thaksin's and his ilk bought his votes through fiscally irresponsible populist programs that were ill-plannned, poorly executed, and a drain to the tresury of the country. What people need is a more balanced reporting not one skewed to the establishment line of the Carlyle Group, Wall Street, and Western idealism.

Here's a couple of examples of 'forgotten' facts by Western journalists and VOA: what about the recent loss to the Thai tresury of Baht600Billion and the disappearance of 3,000,000 tons of 'populist' yingluck rice scheme. Or how about the graft seen in the construction of the International airport under thaksin regime of over Baht25Billion? What about truning the Thai democray to a 'kleptocracy' and democratic/parliamnetary dictatorship as can be seen in Cambodia? In the view of idealistics Western mindset - as long as it comes from elections, theft by government is legal and legitimate?

Let's have more balanced reporting please!

by: sonthi from: Bangkok
August 25, 2014 5:42 PM
Welcome to Tyrland
Land of Coup

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs