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New Thai king to continue late king's political legacy

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-12-04 08:55

Join hands with military to ensure stability

The military has long been loyal to the king, sticking with the crown through six decades and eight putsches. The alliance between military and monarchy dates back to 1957-1958, when twin coups eviscerated the country's young democracy, and they have since dominated the nation together.

The current ruling junta has taken security of the kingdom as the top priority. The 2014 interim constitution grants the junta leader a legal carte blanche for any deed necessary to ensure "reform in any field and ... national peace and harmony" and to suppress anything harmful to security, the monarchy, the economy, or the government.

After ascending the throne, the new king will sign the junta-backed draft constitution to promulgate it, according to Wissanu Krea-ngam, Thai deputy prime minister.

Key elements of the new constitution will entrench military control. The new charter, which passed a referendum on August 7, contains provisions that will make it extremely difficult for a single party to win a majority in the 500-member lower house.

This will allow the 250 junta-selected senators to play a critical role in the Thai parliament. A new prime minister must be elected by both members of the lower house and the senate and there is a way for some outsider, or someone who is not an elected member of the lower house, to take the position.

"The military is putting in mechanism to be empowered for some time, certainly, there will be military supervision over Thai politics", said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, director of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Chulalongkorn Universityaid, adding that Thai people know military should stay for the transitional period as majority of them voted yes to the new constitution which bestowed power upon the military.

For the time-being, Thitinan said Prayut and his government has done well, the junta is not violent, the corruption level is low and they appointed technocrats led by deputy prime minister Somkid Jatusripitak to boost the economy.

"If they can keep peace and stability, lower corruption to a minimum level and the economy grows, they will maintain some legitimacy", He said.

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