Military draft to stay: Prawit

Military draft to stay: Prawit

Conscription will not be scrapped anytime soon, as there are not enough volunteers signing up for military service, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said on Monday.

Gen Prawit told reporters that compulsory service is meant to shore up any manpower shortfalls, and that conscripts represent a small percentage of all recruits.

"If conscription is abolished and something untoward were to happen to Thailand, there won't be enough soldiers to defend the country," said Gen Prawit.

"Who would be responsible for that occurring?"

The deputy prime minister in charge of national security said that even if the government agrees to end conscription, lawmakers would still need to sit down and amend a number of laws.

"Public opinion would also have to be factored in if conscription were to be abolished," said Gen Prawit.

"A new method of recruitment will have to be put in place, too, as the conscription system has been in place for decades," he said.

Thailand's military draft is under scrutiny after Future Forward Party (FFP) leader, Thanathorn Juangroonruangkit, led a street campaign in central Bangkok last week, calling for its abolition.

Mr Thanathorn -- who led the campaign hours after the Constitutional Court disqualified him as an MP over a media-shareholding case -- said at the event that the military was in dire need of radical reform to prevent coups in the future.

Gen Prawit went on to insist the military has no plans to mount a campaign to counter the growing anti-conscription movement.

"People recognise the duty of Thai men, which is to serve their country," he said.

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