23 May 2024

Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan did not rule out the possibility of a military coup if the country is thrown into chaos again.

Prawit’s comments came during an encounter on Thursday with a political activist, who has been campaigning against military intervention in politics and demanding reform of the monarchy.

Patsaravalee Tanakitvibulpon, better known as “Mild”, visited the headquarters of the Palang Pracharath Party as a member of the media, to ask for an interview with Prawit. It was their first encounter since Patsaravalee became a leader of the pro-democracy movement that engineered anti-military street protests in 2020 and 2021.

In response to Patsaravalee’s question, Prawit, who is leader of Palang Pracharath Party, said he believes that Thailand would not see another coup, on the condition that there are no more serious conflicts. “There will be no more coups if the country is united and there are no conflicts that lead to casualties but, if the country is in turmoil, it (a coup) may be necessary,” he said.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, speaking last week however, said that he did not expect to see another coup in Thailand. “That coup was the last coup,” he said, referring to his seizure of power in 2014.

Prawit also told Patsaravalee that his party’s platform is geared toward bringing about political reconciliation.

Patsaravalee, who also posed for a selfie with Prawit, described her conversation with the Palang Pracharath leader as “rather interesting” and said she intends to talk to other political parties, including United Thai Nation which is nominating Gen Prayut as its prime ministerial candidate.

Patsaravalee is facing a string of charges related to her political activities, including allegedly insulting the monarchy and disturbing the peace.