Thailand: Army chief gives conditional no-coup promise

  • New army chief Gen Narongphan Jitkaewtae says the chance of a coup is zero unless conditions deteriorate, urging people to prevent that.
  • Gen Narongphan, who took the position on 1 Oct 20, held his first press conference on 6 Oct 20 after a meeting of armed forces and police chief at the army headquarters on 5 Oct 20.
  • Asked whether he could assure there would be no coup during his three-year tenure ending in 2023, he declined to reply directly. “Every army chief has been asked this question and he invariably says the chance was zero ‘on condition that no one causes a conflict that leads to violence and unrest’,” he said.
  • When the question was repeated, he said: “The chance is none. I think that there is no such situation in Thailand because our country is now at its best. It’s evident that the country has the most freedom and plentiful resources which guarantee a happy life.
  • The 57-year-old general said political problems must be addressed by political solutions and he was a government official who had to follow the policies of the government, defence minister and defence forces chief.

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