Kornelius Purba (The Jakarta post)
Wed, March 23, 2022
An early departure of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha should be good news not only for the Thai people, but also for ASEAN in its efforts to put pressure on Myanmar’s brutal military rule.
Seizing power by a coup d’etat is the most primitive way to replace a government. Thailand is a great nation that was never colonized and its economic growth has earned it international acclaim for decades. Thailand’s path to democracy, however, has faced a persistent challenge from the military, which has launched a coup nearly 20 times so far, the most recent in May 2014 being directed by Prayut.
For generals in Myanmar, Prayut is highly regarded as a role model in overthrowing a democratically elected government. He also used force and tricks to stay in power for as long as he wanted, perhaps until young generals forced him to step down because they wanted their turn. Since he wrested power, people at the local level have tried to organize “people power” rallies, including mass protests in 2020, but to no avail.
Prime Minister Prayut openly expressed his support for General Min Aung Hlaing when the General of Myanmar overthrew the democratically elected civilian government on February 1, 2021. Prayut knew full well that the General of Myanmar’s apology to overthrow the government of Aung San Suu Kyi were baseless. Citing the raging COVID-19 pandemic, the Thai leader also missed the emergency ASEAN summit in Jakarta on April 24 last year.
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