News / Asia

    Thai Coup Chief: No Elections for 15 Months

    Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha speaks at the start of his first press conference since Thursday's coup, May 26 , 2014.
    Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha speaks at the start of his first press conference since Thursday's coup, May 26 , 2014.
    Army General Prayuth Chan-ocha has ruled out any early general election for the country in a nationally broadcast address late Friday evening.

    The leader of the May 22 coup says it will take about a year and three months to accomplish reforms necessary before a nationwide vote.

    The general says "a  legislative council will be established in order to select a prime minister, appoint a Cabinet to oversee the administration and draft a [new] constitution, as well as set up a reform council to reform all issues that the society desires, acceptable to all groups."

    The army chief appealed to the international community to be patient to give him time to carry out the necessary reforms.

    He also repeated a warning against trying to protest the military’s takeover, saying such acts will impede his goal of bringing happiness back to the people of Thailand.

    General Prayuth seized power just days after declaring martial law and summoning leaders of the major political parties and protest groups to try to broker a solution to Thailand’s long political impasse.

    The senior military officers leading the coup quickly detained scores of politicians, including Thailand's previous two acting prime ministers. Academics also have been summoned to turn themselves in to the military, but most have been released after apparently promising not to engage in politics and to remain in the country.

    The partly elected Senate, the only functioning legislative body, has been disbanded. A dozen provincial governors and numerous top police officials have also been removed from their posts.
    • A protester displays how his rights were violated during an anti-coup demonstration at the Victory Monument, in Bangkok, May 28, 2014.
    • A Thai riot police officer (center), is carried by colleagues after he was knocked down by an object thrown by protesters during an anti-coup demonstration at the Victory Monument, in Bangkok, May 28, 2014.
    • Protesters scuffle with Thai soldiers during an anti-coup demonstration at the Victory Monument, in Bangkok, May 28, 2014.
    • About 200 people confronted troops and police during a rally at Victory Monument, in Bangkok, May 28, 2014.
    • Anti-coup protesters push police during a rally at the Victory Monument, in Bangkok, May 27, 2014.
    • Military police stand guard during an anti-coup demonstration at the Victory Monument in Bangkok, May 27, 2014.
    • A demonstrator holds up a sign during a protest against military rule at the Victory Monument in Bangkok, May 27, 2014.
    • Thai soldiers secure a road near the Victory Monument in Bangkok, May 26, 2014.
    • An anti-coup protester holds a banner in front of soldiers during a demonstration at the Victory Monument in Bangkok, May 26, 2014.
    • Anti-coup protestors jeer at riot police during a rally against military rule at the Victory Monument in Bangkok, May 26, 2014.
    • Police officers and soldiers stand guard during a protest against military rule at Victory Monument in central Bangkok, May 26, 2014.
    • General Prayuth Chan-ocha speaks at the start of his first press conference since Thursday's coup, Bangkok, May 26, 2014.
    In a series of decrees from the National Council for Peace and Order, which General Prayuth now leads, citizens have been warned not to gather in public in groups larger than five people.

    The media is under censorship with soldiers monitoring content being broadcast on the major television channels. International news channels, such as BBC and CNN, have been blacked out on cable TV systems.

    A nightly curfew remains in effect nationwide despite its adverse effect on the country’s lucrative tourism industry.

    A spokesman for the governing military council said the goal of the coup is to eradicate the influence of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a previous coup in 2006. Parties supported by Thaksin have won every election in Thailand since 2001, and his sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, became prime minister after elections in 2011. Thaksin Shinawatra remains popular among the rural poor, especially in the north and northeast of the country.

    Bangkok urbanites and ardent royalists, along with much of the elite in the powerful military, have been strong opponents of the ex-prime minister, a billionaire telecommunications tycoon now in self-imposed exile. He faces prison for a corruption conviction should he return home.

    The United States and other countries have called for a swift return to democratic government.

    Since the coup, Thailand’s revered ailing 86-year-old king has not made an appearance. But a royal appointment issued in his name was given to General Prayuth, formalizing the army chief’s hold over the government.

    Thailand has seen 19 successful or attempted coups since the abolition of absolute monarchial rule in 1932. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, also known as Rama IX, has reigned for nearly 68 years, making him the world’s longest-serving current head of state.

    Steve Herman

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

    You May Like

    Video Twists and Turns Aplenty in US Presidential Race

    Even as Americans pause for this week’s Memorial Day holiday, much attention is focused on the presidential contest

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora