Having Amassed Power, Thailand’s Junta Still Faces Legitimacy Gap

Thai Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha prays in front on the spirit house for good luck, before a meeting in the preparation for his cabinet meeting at the Government house in Bangkok, Thailand, Sept. 9, 2014 (AP photo by Sakchai Lalit).
Thai Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha prays in front on the spirit house for good luck, before a meeting in the preparation for his cabinet meeting at the Government house in Bangkok, Thailand, Sept. 9, 2014 (AP photo by Sakchai Lalit).

Shortly after Thailand’s military took power in a coup in May and proclaimed the ruling junta the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), its leader, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, said he wanted to “reform the political structure, economy and society.” At the time, the burning question was under what terms will this reform take place—and who gets to decide? Three months after the coup, the answer appears clear: Prayuth and the NCPO have supreme power over all political developments. The interim constitution adopted by the junta on July 22 has produced a 200-member National Legislative Assembly, all of its members […]

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