NCPO chief asserts military takeover aimed at easing turmoil, not power grab


BANGKOK, May 26 — Thailand’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha today called for the public to understand intention in military takeover, affirming the council’s sincere intention to ease turmoil countrywide and to prevent violence but not for power or personal benefit.

Gen Prayuth, in his first public appearance after the coup d’etat on Thursday, called for cooperation from all sectors of the public, asserting that the military wished no conflict with any groups but wanted the country to move forward to democracy. He said that the council would learn from the past to avoid similar problems in the future.

The army commander in chief received a royal command appointing him leader of the NCPO in a ceremony held at Army Headquarters.

He vowed to do his best to return the country to normalcy, pledging he would be careful regarding law enforcement and adhere to principles and practices of fairness.

Gen Prayuth affirmed that the NCPO would work with police and civilians for fairness and transparency to achieve results as soon as possible.

He said that the summonses were aimed to achieve better understanding with all groups. He gave assurances that as the situation eases, the NCPO will eventually relax the tough measures.

The NCPO chief added that the military coup was not carried out for power or benefit, and asked for understanding on NCPO works. 

Gen Prayuth called on the media to share good information with the public, not to cause more conflicts or make comments that lead to misunderstanding.

The NCPO chief did not answer whether he would serve as prime minister himself, but said only that there should be a prime minister and cabinet members to work as usual.

He vowed not to exercise power for long, but said he would not set the time frame as it depended on the situation. 

Gen Prayuth on May 22 announced that the armed forces have taken full control of power at 4.30pm in order to restore order and stability in the country after nearly seven months of deadly political deadlock.

The military takeover came after Gen Prayuth hosted a second day of seven-party talks engaging political rivals in a bid to resolve the crisis, but failed to reach a compromise on ending nearly seven months of mass street protests in Bangkok.  

Following the coup, a curfew was imposed nationwide between 10pm and 5am daily, starting from May 22 evening.

Despite the ban of political gatherings of more than five people, anti-coup protesters defied the order by staging street protests in the capital during the weekend.