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There is just one politician campaigning legally, and his defenders have claimed support of 100%. But they fear calling an election. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
There is just one politician campaigning legally, and his defenders have claimed support of 100%. But they fear calling an election. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

The founder and chairman of Asia's only military kratocracy passed a milestone last Tuesday. Gen (Ret) Prayut has now been in office four years and 82 days, more than half the time of the general he had hoped was his mentor, the leader of the 1980s, Gen Prem Tinsulanonda.

In the post-war era, only Gen Prem (eight years and 154 days) and four other men were at the top longer than Gen (Ret) Prayut has been. Just one of the six was elected. They are Thanom Kittikachorn (nearly 10 years), Plaek Pibulsonggram (nine years-plus), Sarit Thanarat (just over five years) and the man called South who comes from the North. He lasted more than five and a half years before a coup ended his stay.

It may be a tad premature for the general prime minister to be thinking "Hun Sen, hmmmm". Not only has the former Khmer Rouge officer been 33 years at the top, he's still counting, and so Gen (Ret) Prayut isn't catching up. The point is that Gen (Ret) Prayut has held absolute political power for 1,551 days and that's not chopped liver. Nice feeling.

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Alan Dawson

Online Reporter / Sub-Editor

A Canadian by birth. Former Saigon's UPI bureau chief. Drafted into the American Armed Forces. He has survived eleven wars and innumerable coups. A walking encyclopedia of knowledge.


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