News / Asia

Thai PM Confident Military Will Not Stage Coup

Thailand's caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra speaks to members of the foreign media in Bangkok, Dec. 11, 2013. (Steve Herman/VOA)
Thailand's caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra speaks to members of the foreign media in Bangkok, Dec. 11, 2013. (Steve Herman/VOA)
There is a lull on the streets of Thailand's capital after weeks of demonstrations against the government.  But protest leaders are not relenting on their demand the prime minister immediately step aside, despite new elections scheduled for February 2. 

Just minutes before she boarded a Royal Thai Army jet for a visit to Chiang Mai, caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, speaking to foreign media in an air base hangar in the capital, expressed confidence the military would not depose her.

“It [carrying out military coups] does not solve any problems.  So that’s why I don’t think in the current situation no one wants to take any violent [method] to the country any more. So we need to have the reconciliation. That will be one objective that we should go for,” she said.

Her opponents, including the Bangkok middle class and those who strongly support the monarchy, said reconciliation was not possible as long as Yingluck was at the helm of the government. They believe the real power behind her is her brother in voluntary exile. 

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra cannot return home unless he wants to begin serving a two-year prison term for a corruption conviction.

Meanwhile, some members of Yingluck’s caretaker Cabinet are calling for police to serve an arrest warrant on a key protest leader, former deputy prime minister Suthep Taugsuban. Besides demanding the loyalty of civil servants, he has requested leaders of the powerful military and the police meet with him by Thursday evening.

Yingluck said it was up to the police to decide whether to meet Suthep or arrest him.

“If the country is just run without the law, no one applies the law enforcement, I don’t think we can have the stability of the government or even for Thailand,” she said. 

Suthep, who has quit the opposition Democrat Party, said he was not seeking personally to take over the government. He has been leading calls for a “people’s revolution” and said it was the caretaker prime minister whom police should arrest for insurrection, not him.

Suthep and the others who have been marching on the streets for weeks insist that fresh elections will not dislodge Thaksin’s influence nor alleviate pervasive corruption.

Parties allied with Thaksin, a telecommunications tycoon, have won every general election in Thailand since 2001.

The governing party enjoys strong rural support in the northern part of the country, contributing to a landslide victory for Yingluck’s party in the 2011 election, which was widely regarded as free and fair.

Steve Herman

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

You May Like

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Video One Year After Massacre, Iraq’s Yazidis a Broken People

Minority community still recovering from devastating assault by IS militants which spurred massive outrage More

‘Malvertisements’ Undermine Internet Trust

Hackers increasingly prey on users' trust of major websites to delivery malicious software More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs