Army reshuffle likely to buttress Prayut's control

Army reshuffle likely to buttress Prayut's control

ANALYSIS: New top brass could boost junta chief's chances of returning as PM

Gen Apirat Kongsompong, almost certain to be the next army commander as of Oct 1, is not a member of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's Burapa Phayak military clique, but he is a strong supporter of the prime minister. (File photo)
Gen Apirat Kongsompong, almost certain to be the next army commander as of Oct 1, is not a member of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's Burapa Phayak military clique, but he is a strong supporter of the prime minister. (File photo)

The major annual military reshuffle at the end of September is once again expected to provide a solid cushion for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha beyond the general election tentatively set for early next year, according to a military source.

Although assistant army chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong is tipped to be in line to take over the top post in September, he belongs to the Wongthewan clique and not the powerful Burapa Phayak circles of elite commanders, of which Gen Prayut and his deputy Prawit Wongsuwon are members.

The source said that despite Gen Apirat -- son of the late strongman Gen Sunthorn Kongsompong who engineered the coup that overthrew the Chatichai Choonhavan government in 1991 -- being a Wongthewan, his allegiance lies with Gen Prayut. Lt Gen Apirat was one of the movers of the May 22, 2014 coup when he supervised the 1st Division, King's Guard, which was a key unit in the putsch.

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