Defence chief denies coup is a possibility

Defence chief denies coup is a possibility

Defence forces chief Gen Chalermpol Srisawasdi
Defence forces chief Gen Chalermpol Srisawasdi

Newly appointed defence forces chief Gen Chalermpol Srisawasdi on Monday insisted that the military would not get involved in politics and a military coup was not on their minds.

Gen Chalermpol was speaking after the first meeting of the new leaders of the three armed forces and the Royal Thai Police.

Also present were army chief Gen Narongphan Jitkaewtae, navy chief Adm Chartchai Sriworakhan, air force chief ACM Airbull Suttiwan and national police chief Pol Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk.

Asked about the military's role in politics, Gen Chalermpol said politics involved the governing of the country under the law, while the military served as the government's mechanism in social and economic affairs.

"As for politics, the military has no involvement, although they are directly involved in state security because this is the duty of the military. It is the duty under the constitution,'' Gen Chalermpol said.

Asked about the armed forces leaders' roles as senators, he said they only served during a so-called five-year transitional period as stipulated by the constitution.

The armed forces leaders are among six state officials serving as senators under the current constitution.

The three others are the chief of the defence forces, the permanent secretary for defence and the national police chief.

Under the constitution, the coup-appointed Senate is allowed to join the House of Representatives to vote for a prime minister.

Asked to give assurances there would be no military coup, Gen Chalermpol said the matter was "not part of the military's action plans''.

Gen Chalermpol on Monday also laid down the armed forces' policies, including protecting the monarchy, national defence, maintaining state security, building security cooperation with other countries, supporting efforts to develop the country and preventing and easing natural disasters.

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