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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs