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Two-step coup leader may have dangerously misjudged Thais

Hewison, K. (2014) Two-step coup leader may have dangerously misjudged Thais. The Conversation, 26 May 2014 .

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Thailand’s army commander, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, took his unilateral declaration of martial law one step further on May 22, grabbing power for a military junta. The two-step coup caught some observers by surprise. They felt that the military would not intervene again because it had learned, following the 2006 coup, that governing a large, modern and open country was simply too difficult.

There’s something in this, for the notoriously short-fused Prayuth says he had thought long and hard about a coup for three years before Thursday’s two-step. Yet Prayuth learnt other lessons as well.

Initially, the 2006 putsch was widely accepted as a “good coup”. There was little organised opposition and international pressure was tepid, merely urging a clear timetable for re-establishing civilian government and a return to electoral politics. But things went awry.

The junta’s appointed civilian government, with palace insider and former army commander Surayud Chulanont as prime minister, was ineffective. Aged former technocrats and persons selected for loyalty rather than capacity made for a somnolent interim government.

Item Type: Non-refereed Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs
Publisher: The Conversation Media Group
Copyright: The Author
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