Army chief insists NCPO has no desire for power
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Army chief insists NCPO has no desire for power

Royal command makes Prayuth council head

Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), yesterday insisted the council has no desire for power, but had to take control of national administration to steer the country forward.

Coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha receives the royal command from His Majesty the King officially appointing him head of the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order.

He made the statement after attending a ceremony to receive the royal command formally appointing him head of the NCPO at the army headquarters on Ratchadamnoen Avenue yesterday morning.

"We don’t have a desire for power, but want to solve problems so the country can move forward,” Gem Prayuth said. "Some may question my abilities and knowledge, but with determination and good intentions, I can do anything.’’

He added: “Thailand has been mired in problems and conflicts for nine years and it is time for all sides to return happiness to the nation.”

He said the NCPO did not operate for the good of the military, but for all Thais.

The country could not afford to step back and must move ahead toward reconciliation and harmony, Gen Prayuth said, adding that all sides must work together to break the deadlock so spending under the 2014 fiscal budget can proceed.

He said the NCPO has no intention to come into conflict with any particular group and the military understands the democratic process.

But the normal democratic process was stalled by conflicts and problems could not be solved given the rampant violence. "When democracy cannot be used properly, we felt the need [to take control of power],’’ Gen Prayuth said.

He said that there would be an interim prime minister and government, although he refused to say if he would be the new premier.

He added that an election will not be held until peace has been restored to the country.

Gen Prayuth said under the NCPO’s administrative structure, ministerial permanent secretaries will work as acting ministers and their work must be approved by the NCPO.

He said the NCPO’s seven coordinating committees are made up of civilians, police and military officers working together to ensure transparency in the work of all ministries.

He stressed that the NCPO’s top priority is to maintain peace and order while the council will also initiate national reform and legislative processes to address the problems besetting the country.

Gen Prayuth said enforcement of the law will intensify if violence persists. But if the situation returns to normal quickly, legal measures will be eased, he said, adding that those who use war weapons to instigate public disturbances will be stopped.

He said the NCPO will appoint experts as its advisers to work out solutions to national problems, adding that the military could not work alone and needed to cooperate with people from all sectors to address urgent problems.

The NCPO’s priorities include the alleviation of hardship afflicting the people, including making delayed payments to rice growers who had waited so long for money owed to them under the pledging scheme, Gen Prayuth said, adding that pledged rice in stocks will be released and sold in a transparent manner

He said he would try to satisfy all people, and would prepare the country for true democracy.

Gen Prayuth stressed the need for members of the media to avoid stoking up further conflicts to divide the country.

He also warned Facebook users to stop posting any comments that might cause divisions in the country or they would be summoned by the NCPO.

“If a Facebook page or website encourages people to fight, I will consider that they violated peace and order,” he said.

He added: “If you still continue [to provoke], no media association will be able to help you.”

Gen Prayuth said the curfew between 10pm and 5am was still in effect, but people who have to travel at night can notify authorities who will in turn facilitate their travel.

Meanwhile, deputy army spokesman Winthai Suvari said yesterday former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra has been released.

However, Col Winthai declined to say if troops are monitoring her movements.

Col Winthai also did not revealed the whereabouts of the leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship. Whether they will be released depends on the security situation, he said.

Preecha Rengsomboonsuk, a former Pheu Thai MP for Loei and former natural resources and environment minister, supported the coup by the NCPO, saying it should take advantage of the power seizure to eradicate all vice and crime.

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