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Post Coup Developments in Thailand

The latest in Thailand is the swearing in of the new prime minister, retired General Surayud Chulanond. General Sonthi's Council For National Security – CNS (formerly known as Council for Demorcratic Reform) is still active and will continue to advise the new prime minister

Agam's Gecko says

Gen. Sonthi vows that the CNS will not interfere in the operation of the new government — as long as things proceed smoothly — but will serve the PM in an advisory role in national security matters. However, the constitution retains the military council's power to sack the PM should things go haywire. It's the reason for not wishing to institute an all-powerful PM position, apparently, until the checking and balancing systems, and independent oversight bodies get repaired in the next permanent constitution. That will be a project for the next 6 months or so.

The blogger adds

It's a shame that this ultimate role will be retained, because it will surely be played up by the foreign media as a point to discredit the next government. But it probably doesn't matter much, because acceptance will only come after our next elections anyway. The Generals are showing that they prioritise national interests above foreign opinion, and I suspect most citizens would agree with that.

In a follow up post, the same blogger analyses the new constitution and counters some of the claims made by the media.

In respect to the role of President of the National Security Council, several foreign media have reported that Gen. Sonthi will retain the right to remove the Prime Minister or any members of the Cabinet. This is not accurate. This is how that power is described in Article 14:
The King has the prerogative to remove the Prime Minister from office as advised by the President of the Council for National Security and the King has the power to remove Ministers from office as advised by the Prime Minister.
The CNS has the role to advise HM regarding the Prime Minister, but the PM retains authority over his cabinet. The perogative in these matters rest with the King.

Some reporters seemed surprised that the new PM appeared in a fancy military uniform at the palace ceremony.

Agam's Gecko says

Reporters seem to also be having difficulties with the scene yesterday of PM Surayud Chulanont at the palace ceremony, where it was noted that he wore a fancy uniform. Implications were being made that this demonstrates a continuance of military dictatorship, or something.

Perhaps these reporters might check pictures of Thaksin's swearing in ceremonies, or of Chuan Leekpai, the former PM from the Democrat Party. Fancy white uniforms with gold braid etc. are the standard for these formal occasions. During June's 60th Coronation anniversary celebrations, Thaksin and all his ministers were wearing them when they met foreign dignitaries. Heck, if a schoolteacher is running for elected office, her campaign posters (more often than not) will feature the candidate in this same formal dress. Sheesh, get a grip, journalists!

Thai Election Poster
A Thai election poster showing the candidate in a seemingly military uniform.

Don Gilliland at thingsasian.com writes about new rules for soldiers in a post on Bangkok's public transport.

Meanwhile, the Council for Democratic Reform – which is the official identity of Thailand’s new Military-backed interim government – has announced new measures to combat over-exuberant fans of the recent coup. According to newspaper reports, the CDR “has told soldiers it will not allow dancers to perform near tanks, nor can they give their weapons to tourists to handle” when posing for photos.” You gotta love it. Only in Thailand!

Bangkok residents bored with the coup now have a new tourist attraction to interest them. Richard Barrow at Thai-Blogs.com visited the new Bangkok airport.

With the withdrawal of the tanks from the Royal Plaza at the weekend, people of Bangkok had to look for another new attraction. They found one with the newly opened Suvarnabhumi Airport. The latest and biggest tourist attraction in neighbouring Samut Prakan. According to a television report that I saw early Sunday morning, officials were pleading with the public to delay visits to the airport. The number of sightseers were outnumbering the passengers. Traffic jams were being reported on the spacious airport roads and families had been spotted inside the terminal having a picnic of som tam!

[som tam is the spicy thai papaya salad]

3 comments

  • wolverine

    hard times are coming thailand…

  • Doug Miller

    I may be one of few to have noted the quick moves to remove substantial meteorite samples from Khao Bin National Park at the very time of the gov’t change using public vehicles freshly sequestered, or to have noted the dozens and dozens of truckloads of same material being secured at the little-known treasury vault in Sala Ya, but for darn sure, I’m not the only one to have seen the rush of meteorite rock being transported west (Phra Pinklao) out of Bangkok on the 4th or 5th day of the coup, as buses, trucks and modified pick-ups with otherwise unexplained heavy loads were more than obvious to the public.

    When do the Thai people get to find out about this amazing natural resource of theirs and is it being sold below value in the meantime to foreign maniipulators?

    That night of the run west, many vehicles on the highway in Ratchaburi were testing the stone’s incredible properties in the category of transport stablizers, including a military!

    Long Live The King

  • Doug Miller

    The town of Sala Ya with its huge Institute of Technology – and strong foreign contingent faculty – does not have a single (other than this) reference on the Internet as far as I can tell.

    Even with a train station and more.

    Attempts to verify (or at least consult on) the theory that Khao Bin in Changwat Ratchaburi was form instantly on the impact of a huge and extreemly heavy meteorite impact, thousands of years ago, have not been successful. Other explanations for the presence of volcanic walls reaching up from the sloping plain are neither available – though very welcome. I’m not a geologist.

    Also, flute or organ-pipe spires at the peak levels where the volacanic eruption which formed the khao indicate the likelihood that these volacanic features extend down through the earth’s crust into the mantle.

    Having witnessed first unsuccessful attempts to remove mineral items from the park the day before the coup and the successful removal of 2 or 3 stones with governemnt vehicles the following day leaves me wondering if anyone else noticed their removal, marking a change in location from the thousands-of-years-old configuration.

    Attempts to inform local authorities, both Ratchaburi police and available Royal Thai Army contacts were unfortunately limitted.

    The rocks are moving.

    Thank you,
    Doug Miller
    Nantou County

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