Army Chief endorsed as the new leader by Thai king
Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej (86) has backed the army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha, who captured power in a coup, to run Thailand.
Why is Thailand under military rule?
The political situation in Thailand has been restive for past few months. At present, the country is under junta rule (army rule) after army seized power in a recent coup. According to its Army, the military has taken control of the government and suspended the constitution in order to reinstate order and enact political reforms.
There has been agitation in the country with the opposition accusing the current democratically elected government of corruption and demanding its dissolution. The coup comes after months of surging tensions. The cabinet has been directed to report to the military and gatherings of more than five people have been prohibited.
Have there been coups before in Thialand?
Yes, this is the 12th military coup since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932. The last coup was witnessed in 2006, when then PM Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted by the army after he was accused of corruption. Many accuse the army of being kind to the cause of his opponents in the current anti-government drive.
What are the roots of the Thailand crisis?
The politics in Thailand is polarized with mostly rural, often poor, supporting Mr Thaksin, whereas, the urban middle class is against him.
Ever since Mr Thaksin’s regime was toppled in 2006, there have been regular protests. But in the past few years the focus has been on the current Thaksin-aligned Pheu Thai government.
The protests began to aggravate into violence in November 2013, after the lower house passed a controversial amnesty bill which, as per critics, could make possible Mr Thaksin’s return from exile without serving time in jail.
As per the anti-government camp, at least 28 people have died since then.
The situation exacerbated further in May 2014, after a controversial court judgment removed Mr Thaksin’s sister Yingluck from her position as Prime Minister, saying she had abused her power by illegally transferring the National Security Chief to another position.