In a Royal ceremony today Monday 26th May 2014 General Prayuth Chan-0cha will be given formal approval by King Bhumibol Adulyadej to establish an interim constitution and to govern Thailand. The constitution was suspended last Thursday and former Prime Minister Yingluk Shinawatra was released from detention on Saturday and ordered not to involve herself in any political activity or leave the Country without permission.
The Guardian reports that over 100 people still remain in military detention, presumably an effort by the General to suppress opposition to the Military Coup. Although there is a ban on anti-coup gatherings of more than 5 people some protesters defied this yesterday in Bangkok where protests were still ongoing. This could place the soldiers in a difficult position if numbers increase but so far the Army has resisted enforcing the ban.
Protesters against the coup, around the Country, in places like Chiang Mai (North), Pattaya and Khon Kaen (North-East) are not giving up meekly and are not, seemingly, allowing time for cooling down. But I suspect they are relatively few in number. There is continued unrest, due to the 10 year Islamic insurgency, in the South where 10 bombs exploded on Saturday killing 3 people and injuring 63.
General Prayuth Chan-0cha appears to be making the necessary changes that will enable the Junta to control the Country quickly. He has dissolved the Senate, the lower House of Parliament and suspended the Constitution. New laws which the Junta may deem necessary will now not have to be approved by parliament. The Chief of Police has been dismissed and activists, editors of newspapers and journalists have been ordered to report to the Army. Despite the understandable concerns it appears the General is doing everything to stabilise the situation as quickly as possible.
There are plenty of views and opinions flying around but it is far from clear as to what the Military’s intentions are at this stage.
Undoubtedly the economy will take a further knock as it has done, for example, due to the government’s failure to pay farmers under the rice subsidy scheme. The Junta has indicated it will honour the commitment by paying all the farmers by the end of June. Maybe this will help to pacify the farmers, most of whom are or were supporters of the deposed Yingluck Shinawatra government.
Once the General feels the situation is well under control and is confident enough to lift the 10pm till 5am curfew daily life should return to normal quickly enough. However, it looks as though major changes will have to be made this time before rule is returned to the people, which could be quite a while.
Let’s hope it is not too long