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‘Zero chance of a coup’

BANGKOK: Army chief Gen Narongpan Jittkaewtae on Thursday (May 11) provided assurances that no coups will take place while he is in charge, saying the word “coup” should not exist in anyone’s vocabulary.

By Bangkok Post

Friday 12 May 2023, 08:49AM

Pomprap Sattruphai district officials and police officers receive ballot papers at Phra Nakhon District Office on Thursday before distributing them to polling stations in their district. Photo: Apichart Jinakul / Bangkok Post

Pomprap Sattruphai district officials and police officers receive ballot papers at Phra Nakhon District Office on Thursday before distributing them to polling stations in their district. Photo: Apichart Jinakul / Bangkok Post

Gen Narongpan, who will retire on Sept 30, spoke to the media in the lead-up to the national election on Sunday (May 14) amid concern that the country may experience unrest after the polls, reports the Bangkok Post.

Asked if he is concerned about the potential of future unrest that could prompt a reaction from the military, the army chief said he wasn’t.

“I don’t worry. We have learned many lessons from the past,” Gen Narongpan said.

“We have reached a point where democracy has to go ahead. Everyone should be mindful and avoid what should not be done.”

Asked whether another coup will occur after the election, Gen Narongpan said reporters should not raise such a matter as this could stir up conflict.

“The term should not be used. It is not appropriate. I want reporters to remove it from your dictionary,” the army chief said.

Quizzed on whether the military should also remove the word from its vocabulary, Gen Narongpan said: “Of course, it’s removed.”

Asked whether he can confirm that during his stint as army chief, soldiers will not act in a way that raises concern among the public, Gen Narongpan said: “I cannot say whether the country will be peaceful. I mean that peace can only be achieved by everyone working together.”

“But I can assure you that what occurred [coups] in the past. The chance is zero now,” he said.

Asked for thoughts about a change of the status quo, the army chief said that change is inevitable, though things should change for the better rather than for the worse.

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“The country needs to be peaceful so the economy can grow. But if we are in conflict and stir up unrest, the country will be in chaos, and people will be in trouble. Everyone must work together in the country’s best interests,” he said.

Soldiers urged to vote

Gen Narongpan said he had encouraged army personnel to exercise their democratic rights to vote on Sunday.

The army, through all of its channels of communication, has urged all personnel and their families to carry out their duty as good citizens by casting their votes, he said.

The army chief also downplayed a move by some political parties to replace conscription with voluntary recruitment if they form a government after the election.

“They have the right to carry out their policy if they become the government, but the military also has the right to explain why conscription is necessary,” Gen Narongpan said.

“Everyone has the right to agree or disagree [with conscription]. We can have different opinions. That’s normal,” he said.

Asked to comment if the Move Forward Party, which has been critical of the military, can be part of the coalition government after the poll, the army chief said: “That’s about the future. No one knows about it until after the election. It is up to political parties to form a coalition, while military personnel are not political-office holders.”

Gen Narongpan went on to say that he has issued guidelines for how army personnel can behave in the lead-up to Sunday’s election.

Entering a polling station with T-shirts bearing the names of political parties is against the law, the army chief warned.

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Fascinated | 13 May 2023 - 09:53:25

Yet another comment blocked Mr Ed? It was far less provocative than mr C and his chum venting below. All I did was point out that he is only inthe seat until Sept.

[Email your complaint directly to]

JohnC | 13 May 2023 - 09:28:07

Hahahahahahahahaha. The last time they said that the country is still stuck with the clown that wanted the big chair, just like the time before and the time before that....

JSombra | 13 May 2023 - 00:10:16

So 99% chance of a coup then...

Though doubt will come straight after election, but in 2 years from now....

Kurt | 12 May 2023 - 09:14:20

I would not dare to put money on the 'No Coup' words of that army general. Words to make population 'rocking to sleep'. A good militair coup is a very surprise coup! But a coup would be the end of the 'political career' of general Prayut as PM and Defense minister. Also the watch case of general Prawit, still under investigation (!) can continue.  (BP , Postbag, Case of Dej...


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