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Junta leader seen serving as Thailand's interim prime minister

Publication Date : 29-06-2014


NCPO will retain its executive power even after the interim government is installed


Thailand's junta leader is likely to double as prime minister in an interim government to be set up in September "to avoid mistakes made by the 2006 coup leaders", a source in the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) said yesterday.

It is highly likely now that General Prayuth Chan-ocha, the NCPO chief, will also head the new administration, according to a senior figure in the ruling junta.

However, the NCPO will retain its executive power even after the interim government is installed, a source close to Prayuth confirmed to The Sunday Nation.

"That means NCPO can overrule any decision made by the interim government," said the source, who argued that NCPO would ultimately be responsible in running the country.

He said NCPO had learned from the experience of the military junta led by General Sonthi Boonyaratglin that hastily transferred power to a civilian interim government after seizing power in 2006. The junta was left with no executive power and lost control of the administration.

"In the end, nothing got done," he said.

The source suggested that it was likely that  Prayuth would continue to head the NCPO even if he was installed as interim prime minister.

A new interim government could start functioning in September, Prayuth said during his weekly TV programme on Friday night. He said a provisional charter would be promulgated next month and a national legislative assembly would be set up about a month afterwards.

The interim government would "work in parallel" with the NCPO.

The source said he believed there would be some "undercurrents" to challenge the interim government's power but that the new administration would prove itself. "We will show that we have good intentions and we have no plans to be corrupt. If the performance is good and people benefit from it. I don't think there will be any opposition," the source said.

Elections for the Parliament are expected to be held in October 2015 and a democratically elected government could be in place late next year, the junta leader said on Friday night. He said a new constitution could be ready by August next year.

"You will get a democratically elected government by 2015," Prayuth said.

Meanwhile, the military court has issued an arrest warrant for Jakrapob Penkair, the leader of an anti-NCPO movement, in connection with the recent discovery of his link with the suspects arrested recently for possession of large volume of war weapons.

Jakrapob, together with former Pheu Thai Party leader Charupong Ruangsuwan, last week set up a group called the Organisation of Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy.



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