Time to end coup threats

Time to end coup threats

In response to infighting for cabinet seats within the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), coup maker-turned-politician Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has alarmed many by hinting he could resort to a "non-political solution".

In a statement issued on Monday, Prime Minister Prayut expressed his "discontent" with the rifts within the party that nominated him to be prime minister.

But he also delivered a blanket warning to all politicians from both the government and opposition camps that they must be able to get to work.

This is to move the country forward, he said, in order to prevent a recurrence of past political problems that could lead to the use of the same solution that no one wants to see happen again.

Even without using the exact words, it is obvious to many politicians from the opposition camp he was hinting that he or the military could stage a coup -- the same way he did in 2014 -- if he cannot put up with political conflicts.

As Thailand makes a transition from Gen Prayut's coup-appointed ruling regime to a so-called elected administration that he is struggling to form, such a remark is poorly thought out. It does a disservice to the both the country and his new government.

The message could well have sent chills down the spine of many people and further undermined confidence among investors and the business community regarding the country's political stability.

Additionally, it was an apparent coup threat to his own government.

Gen Prayut seems to be blinded by his own rhetoric against the political class, which makes him fail to acknowledge the fact that he is now part of it.

The infighting within the PPRP is not a problem with every politician, but one that involves himself and the party that his military regime carved out as a political vehicle to keep him in power.

Gen Prayut's statement may have helped end the rifts within the PPRP, with key figures in the conflict saying yesterday they would behave and not cause problems for the prime minister, but the coup threat is still an unhealthy message.

Instead of issuing such a statement, Gen Prayut should have tried to muster some political skills to resolve this, as he will need to do with future conflicts within the PPRP and among coalition partners.

He must not forget that in less than a month, once the government is sworn in, he will no longer have the authority granted by Section 44 that has allowed him to use unprecedented sweeping powers to run the country.

Instead, the premier needs to prepare himself to be answerable to parliament and get ready to be grilled by the opposition.

It is time for him to start treating all politicians as his equals and stop acting as a former and potentially future coup maker.

Gen Prayut may feel that he has the backing from the armed forces but he must not forget that making a coup threat implies his own administration is weak and his own management is a failure.

More importantly, the country has had enough of being ruled by a coup-appointed regime, which has failed to fulfill its pledges to bring about political reforms and national reconciliation.

The 2014 coup has instead lumbered the country with more political conflicts.

Someone needs to tell Gen Prayut that as the leader of an elected government it his job to serve the people and listen to them, not to threaten them with another putsch.


Bangkok Post editorial column

These editorials represent Bangkok Post thoughts about current issues and situations.

Email : anchaleek@bangkokpost.co.th

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