Special Report: Peace and unity must be restored before election, says NCPO chief


Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) General Prayuth Chan-ocha has stressed the NCPO’s attempts to return happiness to the people and strengthen Thailand’s democracy in a way that is acceptable to all sides. 

In his televised public address, General Prayuth stated that Thailand had suffered from political conflicts for nine consecutive years, and the conflicts had become more severe during the past six months.

He said that the country needs time to fix its problems in order to bring everything back to normalcy for the happiness of the Thai people, as well as foreigners residing in Thailand. The election process, which is part of the democratic system, must be revised to remove “parliamentary dictatorship”. Other issues, such as those involving abuses of political power must be addressed, since they have led to conflicts among the people.

General Prayuth said that martial law was still necessary and it would be enforced together with normal laws. He called for better understanding by the international community on the NCPO’s intention, saying that Thais must respect the law, as this would also restore international confidence.

He pointed out that the NCPO would accept all comments and listen to all sectors of the Thai society. Useful suggestions would be considered for translation into action. The NCPO deemed it urgent to ease the difficulties of the people, especially low-income earners. For instance, it has given top priority to making payments to rice farmers under the rice-pledging scheme and tackling such problems as agricultural products and energy prices.

As for the establishment of Centers of Reconciliation for Reform, he said, the objective is to encourage all groups of people to talk to each other as they used to, and remove the severe division that has come between them over the years. The military will serve as a facilitator and observer. Results of studies on national reconciliation, conducted earlier by several groups, will be brought up for discussion among the people.

Regarding the national reform, General Prayuth explained that all sides would be invited for discussions on all proposals for the reform. This would lead to the second phase, when a new government is formed, together with a reform council and legislative assembly. All the issues would be submitted to the reform council before being forwarded to the assembly for law promulgation.

In the national address, General Prayuth also stressed the importance of preparations for the upcoming ASEAN Community, saying that all ministries must move forward with their projects and activities in this regard to create confidence in Thailand. Public relations campaigns must be stepped up to boost cooperation as well. For example, the ASEAN forest project has been launched in border areas by the army. The project is being spread to other areas of the country.

He urged everyone to attach importance to security and not to leave this issue to the military, the police, and government agencies alone. Everyone can give a helping hand to improve the stability of the country as a whole.