New military commander vows no more coups or role in politics, despite joint chiefs being part of Senate
The military will no longer launch coups or play a role in politics, the new commander in chief General Chalermpol Srisawat declared on Monday.
He made this remark at the first meeting of new chiefs of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, namely Army chief General Narongphan Jitkaewtae, Navy chief Admiral Chatchai Sriworakhan, the Air Force’s Air Chief Marshal Airbull Suttiwan and National Police chief Pol General Suwat Jangyodsuk.
The new military commander called on all the chiefs to abide by the government’s and the Defence Ministry’s policies as well as the principles of protecting the monarchy and using the guidelines provided by the King to benefit the country and the people.
People have the right to express themselves as long as these comments don’t affect national security, he said, adding that the military’s job is to protect the country and its institutions.
As for the Army’s move towards politics, he said the military is constitutionally required to protect the country, not to be involved in politics.
However, he did not comment on the role the Armed Forces chiefs play as senators. It has been reported that the chiefs have decided to not be paid for their duties as senators and will contact the Senate Secretariat soon.
The new commander in chief also declared that the military will no longer launch coups because it is not indicated in the Constitution, adding that National Police should be able to provide security during the October 14 political rally.
“Like the public, we believe a democratic government with the King as head of state is not the worst kind of regime. So, we have to think about how to encourage people to use their rights to improve their quality of life,” he added.