The general who led the 2006 coup has called on the current junta to stick to the election roadmap.
On 1 October 2017, Gen Sonthi Boonyaratglin, the leader of the 2006 coup, invited top military leaders to his 71st birthday celebration at his residence at the 11th Infantry Regiment King’s Guard in Bangkok, the Thai News Agency reported.
The former army chief said that he wishes the country to prosper and become a leading nation in ASEAN and Asia, adding that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) should work upon improving the economy and education for the people.
The NCPO should stick to the political roadmap to elections and should relax the restrictions on political gatherings so that politicians could have more opportunities to hold discussions.
“The government cannot delay because otherwise we would be ashamed in front of our neighbours who will get far ahead in development,” said the former army chief who is currently the head of the Matubhum Party.
Gen Sonthi formed the Council for National Security (CNS), similar to the NCPO, and staged a coup against the civilian Thaksin Shinawatra government on 19 September 2006.
The CNS remained in power for a year and a half and wrote the 2007 Constitution with the goal of protecting Thailand from “electoral dictatorship” -- in other words, Thaksin’s influence on Thai politics.
However, the CNS plans were foiled when Thaksin’s People Power Party won the 2007 election in a landslide. Although the party was later dissolved and its leading politicians were banned from politics, Thaksin still made a stunning comeback when the Pheu Thai Party won the next election in 2011.
Gen Sonthi Boonyaratglin, the leader of the 2006 coup (Photo from Wikipedia)