Pattaya Daily News

11 August 2011 :: 12:08:42 pm 57162

New Thai government says army chief to keep post

BANGKOK, August 10, 2011 - Thailand's new defence minister said Wednesday there was no plan to sack the army chief, who played a key role in a deadly military crackdown on opposition protests in Bangkok last year.
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“I can confirm that no one will be transferred,” General Yuthasak Sasiprapa told AFP at Government House when asked whether he was considering a reshuffle of the armed forces top brass.

Thailand’s military has a long history of intervening in politics, including a string of coups, most recently in 2006 when it overthrew Thaksin Shinawatra, whose allies staged a comeback with a landslide election victory last month.

Commander-in-chief General Prayut Chan-O-Cha, a staunch royalist, launched a thinly veiled attack on Thaksin’s party on national television ahead of the vote, telling voters to pick “good people”.

Prayut, who took the top job in October, is reported to have overseen the military crackdown on a rally by Thaksin’s “Red Shirt” supporters in the heart of Bangkok in April and May 2010 that left more than 90 people dead.

The new defence minister told reporters Wednesday that he had been asked by Thaksin — widely seen as the de facto leader of the recently elected Peua Thai party — to pursue better ties with the army.

“I’m confident that relations between the military and Puea Thai will improve,” he said, adding that he did not expect another coup.

Yuthasak was a deputy defence minister under Thaksin, a former billionaire telecoms tycoon who now lives in self-imposed exile to avoid a jail sentence imposed in his absence for corruption.

Thaksin tapped his youngest sister Yingluck to successfully run in his place for the premiership.

Yingluck, a 44-year-old political novice, took office on Monday with a vow to heal the scars of years of turmoil following the overthrow of her fugitive brother.

Several Red Shirt leaders were elected as lawmakers with Yingluck’s party but missed out on cabinet appointments that could have angered Thaksin’s foes in military, government and palace circles.

Reporter : AFP   Photo : Internet   Category : Politics News

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