Military will respect election result: Army chief Chalermchai

Military will respect election result: Army chief Chalermchai

Army chief Gen Chalermchai Sittisat at the Army. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Army chief Gen Chalermchai Sittisat at the Army. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Army commander-in-chief Chalermchai Sittisat on Saturday expressed confidence no coup would be staged to challenge the election results no matter who wins, saying the rules would be respected.

"When elections are held, everyone must accept the rules. The military will not reject the polls," he said when asked about the possibility of a coup if the old political clique won a mandate to form a government.

Based on the junta's roadmap, a general election is due to take place late this year. But Constitution Drafting Committee chairman Meechai Ruchupan said on Friday he could not guarantee the election would take place according to the roadmap.

According to Gen Chalermchai, the junta's political roadmap to a general election is unlikely to be derailed.

Gen Chalermchai, whose mandatory retirement is on Sept 30, 2018, said new rules were being laid down to tackle and prevent problems that could lead to a political crisis, so he saw no conditions which could trigger conflicts and military intervention.

He said public scrutiny would play an important role in the political system as part of reforms and intensified check-and-balance mechanisms to help keep those involved in check.

The NCPO's political gathering ban, which has been enforced since the 2014 coup, is expected to be revoked after two organic bills governing the Election Commission and political parties take effect.

He brushed off speculation that the military would be singled out as a target of election campaigns, saying politicians were politically mature and knew how to conduct themselves.

"It can be said this election will bring in good politicians. We've learned a lesson and we don't want to go through it again. We may or may not get what we want. We have to take it step by step," he said.

Asked if the ongoing trial against former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra could pose a threat to the roadmap, the army chief said it was unlikely.

Ms Yingluck is on trial for alleged dereliction of duty and abuse of authority in failing to stop graft and losses in the rice-pledging scheme.

She was also ordered to pay 35.7 billion baht, or 20% of 178 billion baht, in compensation for losses accumulated by the scheme for the 2012-14 crops.

Concerns were raised that the ex-premier's supporters might stage a protest if she was found guilty.

"It is useless to create trouble because it could give a reason to the NCPO to extend the roadmap. But I don't think there will be any accidents to disrupt the plan," he said.

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