Thailand's new military and new politics

Thailand's new military and new politics

New army chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong, left, takes official command from retiring Gen Chalermchai Sitthisad, right, at a parade on Sept 28 at the Royal Thai Army's headquarters. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
New army chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong, left, takes official command from retiring Gen Chalermchai Sitthisad, right, at a parade on Sept 28 at the Royal Thai Army's headquarters. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

Most likely not in accordance with his preference, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is finding out that the military high command he seized power with during the May 2014 coup will be fundamentally different when he leaves office.

Even if Gen Prayut can manipulate his way into leading the post-election government, his political standing will not be as solid and secure because the new high command is no longer from his main base of support.

Thailand's new military line-up looks similar to the way it used to be prior to the rise of Gen Prayut and his fraternal brothers, led by Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon and Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paojinda.

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Thitinan Pongsudhirak

An associate professor at Chulalongkorn University

An associate professor and director of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Political Science, with more than 25 years of university service. He earned his MA from The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and PhD from the London School of Economics where he was awarded the UK’s top dissertation prize in 2002.


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