Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Military Coup takes over in Thailand

Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted in a military coup on Tuesday evening by an opposition movement backed by conservative elements and military commanders close to the Thai palace.

Troops loyal to Thai army commander General Sonthi Boonyaratklin, a palace loyalist, led the coup and surrounded Government House and parliament with tanks and troops. Thaksin was traveling in the United States.

A military official, wearing a Western style suit and a royal insignia pin, announced on national TV that the army had temporarily suspended the “irresponsible” civilian government and would soon return power to the people. The Thai military used similar justification to overthrow the democratically-elected government led by Chatichai Choonhavan in 1991. All Thai television stations were placed under military control and played continuous footage in honor of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

A subsequent military announcement broadcast on all Thai television stations formally dismissed the government, revoked the 1997 constitution, and declared the provisional authority's loyalty to the monarch. The official statement also ordered all military personnel based in Bangkok to remain in their appointed positions.

Sources close to Sonthi said that two palace loyalists were being considered to take over the provisional military authority. One candidate was Sumet Tantivejkul, Secretary General of the Chai Pattana Foundation, which is under royal patronage. The other was privy councilor Palakorn Suwannarat, who had been removed by Thaksin from his post in the interior ministry in 2001.

A great deal of the coup involves friction between Thaksin and the royal family and Thaksin's attempt to put officers loyal to him in control of the military, but an underlying theme was Thaksin's failure to preserve law and order and deal effectively with the Muslim jihad in Thailand's southern provinces..which has claimed almost 2,000 lives.


Anonymous said...

uh, well, as i don't know how parliamentary gov'ts work........
a coup backed by the royal family doesn't bode well for civilan control of the society.
was this guy just a puppet PM to begin with?
would it not be better for the royal family to dissove parliament and call for new elections?
would it not be better if people with in the PM office, or back benchers, call for new elections?
a coup?
yeah, and yankee gunboat diplomacy is a bad thing.

Freedom Fighter said...

Let's just say there was a great deal of friction and this is how the Thais resolved it.

Call it an election by other means.

Again, the underlying problem was the PM's failure to deal with the Muslim insurgency as well as his stepping on the wrong toes at home.