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Thailand’s New Army Chief Calls Coup Remark “Worst Case Scenario”

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BANGKOK – Thailand’s Supreme Commander Gen Pornpipat Benyasri today tried to allay fears of a military intervention after the general elections expected early next year.

He said if all parties concerned try to prevent the country from plunging into chaos, then nobody should be worried about what the military would do.

Gen. Apirat Kongsompong on Wednesday refused to commit to not staging another military coup when asked by a reporter if how he would handle another political crisis such as that which precipitated the 2014 coup that brought the current ruling junta to power.

Speaking to reporters after the first meeting of the military top-brass for the new fiscal year, Gen Pornpipat described Gen Apirat’s remarks as reflecting “a worst-case scenario”.

Asked to comment on the situation the country will be facing after the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) ceases to exist after the elections, Gen Pornpipat said: “It’s not possible to predict what will happen. But the country has made good progress over the past four years and is on its way to returning to democracy.”

He called on Thai people to be positive about the country’s future. “Instead of thinking about chaos, if we all together try to do the right things, we should not be worried about chaos in the future and be worried about what the military would do.”

The new army chief, himself the son of the general who led the 1991 coup, assumed the all-powerful position on Oct. 1. He also defended current junta leader-cum-prime minister, saying he believes that Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha did not intend to stage a coup over four years ago.

Source: Khaosod, Bangkok Post