THAILAND: Coup report baseless

Former supreme commander denies newspaper reports that cited a source in the Puea Thai party who said high-ranking officers were planning a silent military coup

Bangkok Post
Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Reports there would be a silent military coup and former deputy prime minister Somkid Jatusriphithak would head the new government were totally groundless, former supreme commander Gen Boonsang Niampradit said on Tuesday.

Citing a source at the opposition Puea Thai party, several local dailies reported yesterday that high-ranking officers dissatisfied with the Democrat-led government's efforts to tackle economic problems, social division and political conflict were planning a silent military coup.

Somkid Jatusriphithak, a former deputy prime minister in the Thai Rak Thai government, would be made the new prime minister, according to the reports.

The law would be amended to pave the way for Mr Somkid, who is banned from politics for five years, to assume the government leadership.

Gen Boonsang said there was no foundation to the reports, which were baseless rumour.

Asked about the red-shirts' petition for a royal pardon for ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the former supreme commander called on the people to refrain from activities that could lead to social division or could affect the royal institution.

"The beloved father will not be happy if his child keeps on fighting. Many people are acting like babies. If we think that we have the right to do anything without good sense, there will be no peace or order in the country," Gen Boonsang said.

The royal petition should not be promoted as an alternative to problem solving.

He asked the media to help campaign for national unity, saying Thais are now lacking patriotism.

The people who hold power must quickly strengthen the foundation of democracy as the system had not yet matured or fully developed.

"Thaksin himself must also be more mature. If a person has too much passion, their intellect will be buried," the retired general said.