Date
20 September 2017
A protester wears a hat adorned with a picture of King Bhumibol. The Thai monarch has endorsed the May 22 military coup. Photo: Reuters
A protester wears a hat adorned with a picture of King Bhumibol. The Thai monarch has endorsed the May 22 military coup. Photo: Reuters

Thai king backs coup, junta moves to stabilize economy

Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej is backing the May 22 military takeover, signaling an opening for Army commander Prayuth Chan-Ocha to name an interim prime minister and legislature.

Prayuth will attend a ceremony today in which he is expected to receive a royal command that will confirm him as leader of the National Council for Peace and Order. The appointment will give the royal seal of approval to his initiatives, according to media reports. 

On Sunday, Prayuth, who led Thailand’s 12th putsch since 1932, met with the heads of the central bank and the stock exchange, as well as other economic officials to discuss measures to safeguard growth in Southeast Asia’s second biggest economy, Bloomberg reported Monday.

The Thai economy shrank 0.6 percent in the first quarter as seven months of unrest sapped consumer spending and slowed growth in industrial production. Also, a nationwide overnight curfew is discouraging tourists who were already wary about visiting the capital because of political violence that has killed at least 28 since November.

Protests broke out over the weekend in Bangkok and Chiang Mai in defiance of martial law.

Thanavath Phonvichai, an economist at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce in Bangkok, said the immediate task is to boost the economy.

Officials including Bank of Thailand governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul have pledged to make overdue payments to farmers under a state rice-subsidy program and implement measures to accelerate government spending and plans for the next fiscal budget, the report said.

Prayuth dissolved the Senate May 24, removing the last democratic institution in the country. Earlier, he put Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong in charge of the key economic ministries.

Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was detained and released to an undisclosed location. Abhisit Vejjajiva, a former prime minister and leader of the Democrat Party that supported the anti-government movement, was also detained and released

– Contact HKEJ at [email protected]

RA

 

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe