World

Thai army chief mocked for saying no more coups

BANGKOK: They may have seized power 12 times in the last 80 years but Thailand's army chief has said military coups are officially a thing of the past.

The comments caused much merriment on social media given the army's track record of toppling governments, with the most recent just two years ago.

The military promised to hold elections once a new constitution was in place but this has yet to happen.

General Chalermchai Sitthisat was asked by Thai media if the military would intervene if civilian politicians disliked by the army brass were voted in.

"I can confirm that there won't be a coup. What would be a reason for having to have the coup? There won't be a coup. We have already learned from what happened (in the past)."

Thai social media quickly seized upon his remarks.

"If the army says something like that it means they will do the opposite for sure," joked Eakapong Leesinla on Facebook.

Added Pim Pongchandr: "We all know what he was going to answer, who would say yes?"

Mr Chalermchai, an ex-head of Thailand's special forces, was appointed by coup leader and current Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha in September.

In 2014, then army chief Prayut famously declared there would be no coup just days before toppling Ms Yingluck Shinawatra. The army also removed her brother, Mr Thaksin Shinawatra, in 2006.

Mr Prayut says he seized power to curb political corruption and bring stability after a decade of political turmoil between Shinawatra supporters and their opponents. - AFP

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