Prayuth Chan-ocha

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Prayuth Chan-ocha
ประยุทธ์ จันทร์โอชา

MPCh MWM TChW RMK
Prayuth Jan-ocha 2010-06-17 Cropped.jpg
29th Prime Minister of Thailand
Incumbent
Assumed office
22 May 2014
Acting: 22 May 2014 – 24 August 2014
Monarch Bhumibol Adulyadej
Preceded by Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan (Acting)
Leader of the National Council for Peace and Order
Incumbent
Assumed office
22 May 2014
Preceded by Position established
Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Army
Incumbent
Assumed office
1 October 2010
Preceded by Anupong Paochinda
Personal details
Born (1954-03-21) 21 March 1954 (age 60)
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
Political party Independent
Alma mater National Defence College of Thailand
Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy
Military service
Allegiance  Thailand
Service/branch Royal Thai Army
Years of service 1972–present
Rank Thai army O9.png General
Commands Commander-in-Chief

Prayuth Chan-ocha (Thai: ประยุทธ์ จันทร์โอชา; born 21 March 1954) is a Thai army officer who is concurrently the Prime Minister of Thailand, the Leader of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), a military junta that has the power to control the prime minister, and the Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Army.

He has been the army chief since October 2010.[1][2] After his appointment, Prayuth has been characterised as a strong royalist and an opponent of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.[3] Considered as a hardliner within the military, he was one of the leading proponents of the military crackdowns on the violent "Red Shirts" demonstrations of April 2009 and April/May 2010.[4][5] He later sought to moderate his profile, talking to relatives of protesters who were killed in the bloody conflict,[6] and co-operating with the government of Thaksin's sister Yingluck Shinawatra[7] who won the parliamentary election in July 2011.

During the political crisis that began in November 2013 and involved the protests against the caretaker government of Yingluck, Prayuth claimed that the army was neutral,[8] and would not launch a coup. However, in May 2014, Prayuth launched a military coup against the government and since then assumed control of the country as NCPO leader.[9] He later issued an interim constitution granting himself sweeping powers and giving himself amnesty for staging the coup.[10] In August 2014, a military dominated national legislature whose members were handpicked by Prayuth elected him as the new prime minister.[11][12]

Military education[edit]

Prayuth studied at the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School (AFAPS) Class 12, Command and General Staff College (CGSC) Class 63 and National Defence College of Thailand (NDC) 5020 and attended Infantry Officer Basic Course Class 51, Infantry Officer Advanced Course Class 38. He studied Bachelor of Science in Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy.[13]

Like his direct predecessor Anupong Paochinda and former defence minister Prawit Wongsuwan, Prayuth is a member of the "Eastern Tigers" clique within the army. Most of them have — like Prayuth — started their career in the 2nd infantry division (with quarters in Eastern Thailand), especially in the 21st infantry regiment (Queen's Guards).[14][15][16][17]

Military career[edit]

Prayuth (left) meets US General Martin Dempsey (right) during his visit to Bangkok (2012)

After graduating from the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy, Prayuth served in the 21st Infantry Regiment, which is granted Royal Guards status as the Queen's Guards (Thai: ทหารเสือราชินี lit. Queen's Musketeer). In 2002, he served as a Deputy Commanding General in the 2nd Infantry Division of the Royal Thai Army, ascending to the rank of Commanding General one year later. In 2005, he became a Deputy Commanding General for the 1st Army Area of which the 2nd Infantry Division is a part, and again became its Commanding General within a year.

Prayuth was the Chief of Staff for the Royal Thai Army from 2008 to 2009 and in 2009 was appointed honorary adjutant of the king. In 2010, he succeeded Anupong Paochinda as Commander in Chief of the army.[13][18]

Non-military activities[edit]

After the 2006 Thai coup d'état, Prayuth was appointed to the National Legislative Assembly. In this capacity, he joined the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. Prayuth sits on the executive boards of a number of companies including the state electricity utility companies MEA. From 2007 to 2010 he was Independent Director at Thai Oil Public Co Ltd. Since October 7, 2010 he has been a Director of the Thai Military Bank[13] and Chairman of Army United Football Club.

2014 coup d'état[edit]

Following the 2013–14 Thai political crisis, Prayuth staged a coup against the caretaker government of Yingluck Shinawatra on 22 May 2014. Yingluck herself was earlier removed by the Constitutional Court and Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan acted in her place. After the coup, Prayuth repealed the 2007 constitution and established the NCPO to govern the nation, with himself as its leader.[19] Prayuth launched rampant crackdowns on dissent. He took control of the media, imposed internet censorship, declared curfew nationwide, banned gatherings of five persons or more, and arrested politicians and anti-coup activists. Some of the arrestees were charged with sedition and tried in military courts.[20][21][22]

On 22 July 2014, Prayuth issued an interim constitution granting himself amnesty for conducting the coup and investing himself with vast powers.[23] On 31 July 2014, a national legislature was established according to the constitution. The legislators, most of whom being military and police officers, were all handpicked by Prayuth and included a younger brother of Prayuth.[24][25] The legislature later unanimously voted Prayuth as a new prime minister. The formal appointment was made on 24 August 2014.[26][27] As a result, Prayuth holds three positions at the same time: the army chief, the NCPO leader and the prime minister.[28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fredrickson, Terry (October 1, 2010). "Gen Prayuth takes command". Bangkok Post. Retrieved March 19, 2012. 
  2. ^ Corben, Ron. "Thailand's new army chief takes office". DW. Archived from the original on May 22, 2014. Retrieved March 19, 2012. 
  3. ^ Chico Harlan (June 7, 2014). "Behind Thailand’s coup is a fight over the king and his successor. But it’s hush-hush". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 24, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Thai king appoints hardliner as next army chief". The Hindu. September 2, 2010. Archived from the original on April 13, 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  5. ^ "Q+A: Are Thailand's "red shirts" regrouping?". Reuters. November 19, 2013. Archived from the original on May 2, 2014. Retrieved May 2, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Gen Prayuth takes command". Bangkok Post. October 1, 2010. Retrieved May 2, 2014. 
  7. ^ "No coup, Prayuth tells Yingluck". Bangkok Post. May 27, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Prayuth says army neutral". Bangkok Post. November 30, 2013. 
  9. ^ "'ประยุทธ์-เหล่าทัพ'แถลง'ควบคุมอำนาจรัฐ'" [Prayuth and military chiefs are controlling state powers] (in Thai). Komchadluek. May 22, 2014. Archived from the original on May 22, 2014. Retrieved May 22, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Military dominates new Thailand legislature". BBC News. August 1, 2014. Archived from the original on August 2, 2014. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Prayuth elected as 29th PM". The Nation. August 21, 2014. Archived from the original on August 23, 2014. Retrieved August 21, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Thailand's Junta Chief Chosen as Prime Minister". Thailand News.Net. August 21, 2014. Retrieved August 21, 2014. 
  13. ^ a b c "Prayut Chan-O-Cha: Executive Profile & Biography". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  14. ^ Avudh Panananda (June 8, 2010). "Is Prayuth the best choice amid signs of Army rivalry?". The Nation. Archived from the original on May 20, 2014. Retrieved May 20, 2014. 
  15. ^ John Cole; Steve Sciacchitano (October 13, 2012). "Thai military resists political pressure". Asia Times Online. Archived from the original on February 21, 2014. Retrieved May 20, 2014. 
  16. ^ Wassana Nanuam (December 12, 2013). "'Silent' military coup beats having a real one". Bangkok Post. Retrieved May 20, 2014. 
  17. ^ Wassana Nanuam (January 2, 2014). "Will this crisis lead to another coup?". Bangkok Post. Retrieved May 20, 2014. 
  18. ^ "ประยุทธ์ จันทร์โอชา". Thai Rath. Archived from the original on February 23, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Coup leader General Prayuth is Thailand's new PM". Southeast Asia Post. August 21, 2014. Archived from the original on August 23, 2014. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  20. ^ "The Thai junta’s latest crackdown on dissent is a bogus Facebook login button". Quartz. 2014-06-26. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  21. ^ "Thai military stifles dissent". BBC. 2014-06-22. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  22. ^ "All crimes involving alleged lese majeste, sedition subjected to Military Court: Thai Coup makers". Prachatai. 2014-05-25. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  23. ^ "Thai military announces new constitution". ABC News. 2014-07-27. Retrieved 2014-08-28. 
  24. ^ Warangkana Chomchuen and Wilawan Watcharasakwet (2014-07-31). "Thai Junta Appoints New Lawmakers". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  25. ^ "Meet our new lawmakers". Bangkok Post. 2014-08-01. Retrieved 2014-08-01. 
  26. ^ "ประกาศแต่งตั้งนายกรัฐมนตรี ลงวันที่ 24 สิงหาคม 2557" [Proclamation on Appointment of Prime Minister dated 24 August 2014] (pdf). Royal Thai Government Gazette (in Thai) (Bangkok: Cabinet Secretariat). 131, Special Part 159 D: 1. 2014-08-25. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  27. ^ "Prayuth officially appointed as 29th premier". The Nation. 2014-08-25. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  28. ^ "Prayuth Chan-ocha: Army Chief, Junta Leader, Prime Minister". Khao Sod. 2014-08-21. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Anupong Paochinda
Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army
2010–2014
Succeeded by
Anupong Paochinda
Political offices
Preceded by
Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan
Acting
Prime Minister of Thailand
2014–present
Incumbent