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, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid