Thailand’s military chief, General Narongpan Jitkaewthae, has said he cannot guarantee that the military would not intervene again if the country faces political upheaval in the next five months.
Speaking to reporters on 11 May, Jitkaewthae said that the military would “consider” intervening if the country is not orderly and if all sides do not cooperate. He also told reporters to stop asking about a coup, saying that it would “continuously ferment conflicting ideas.”
Jitkaewthae’s remarks come amid rising rumors of a potential coup if the Move Forward Party leads the next government. The Move Forward Party is a progressive party that has pledged to reform the lese majeste law and end mandatory military conscription.
Jitkaewthae said that whoever is in government has the power to push their policies, including ending military conscription. However, he also said that there are matters that soldiers have to discuss, and that there are those who agree and disagree with those matters.
Thailand has a long history of military coups. The most recent coup was in 2014, when General Prayut Chan-o-cha led a military coup that ousted the democratically elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra.