BANGKOK – Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, chief of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), said a special law is necessary to ensure national progress and that different opinions were blocking national reform for the time being.
In his lecture to students at the National Defense College this morning, Gen Prayut said “I am not enjoying exercising a great deal of power but a special law is necessary.”
He apparently was responding to calls to end the imposition of martial law that the military applied days before the NCPO seized power on May 22.
In the session he was asked if and how much his national reform move will succeed and what obstructs it. Gen Prayut replied that different opinions were the obstacle and that sovereignty was the only solution.
“Six months before the power seizure, budgets could not be spent and everything was stalled. I am a democratic soldier but I cannot tolerate the failure of the country,” Gen Prayut said.
He said he understood and tolerated those who had different opinions, and promised that he would not intervene in the drafting of the new constitution and national reform brainstorming.
Reform guidelines will conclude in a year for the next government to implement, but he warned that mistrust posed problems to reform efforts.
Gen Prayut said that conflicts in Thailand resulted from inequality and poverty and the government was solving them to prevent anyone from using people to create disunity.
When questioned about his recent trip to Khon Kaen, Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha said that he did not feel disheartened by the protest by students he encountered Wednesday during his trip to the Northeast, which is a stronghold of anti-coup movements.
Meanwhile, the Bangkok Post reported that Eleven student activists were briefly detained Wednesday night after having a picnic at Democracy Monument in Bangkok in support of five Khon Kaen students detained earlier in the day for their anti-coup protest in Khon Kaen.
Police rushed to the scene and took the Bangkok students to Samran Rat police station to undergo ”attitude adjustment” before releasing them without charge.
The activists said their activity was held to give their morale support to the five Northeast student who not only made the Hunger Games gesture at Khon Kaen provincial hall Wednesday morning, but also appeared at Gen Prayut’s speech on drought problems wearing t-shirts emblazoned with an anti-coup message.