Friday, September 22, 2006

King Bhumibol Backs Coup Leadership.

The leaders of Thailand's military coup have been given formal royal approval, in a special televised ceremony. [Via BBC]

The royal decree of assent was read out by an army officer, prior General Sonthi Boonyaratglin knelt before a portrait of the king.

The footage confirms that the king had endorsed their new military regime.

The royal endorsement will provide crucial legitimacy for the coup's leaders.

So far there has been no violence as a result of the sudden military take-over, and correspondents say this is largely because the highly revered king has not come out against it.

Several pro-Thaksin police officers have been removed from their posts, and at least three ministers of the deposed government are in custody. More detentions are expected in the coming days.

Gen Sonthi has said he will resign from power in two weeks, and hand over to an interim premier until new elections are held in October 2007.

Among those being considered for the post are Supachai Panitchpakdi, chairman of the UN Conference on Trade and Development, and Pridiyathorn Devakula, the head of the central bank.

The coup followed months of growing tension in Thailand, with protests against Mr Thaksin and a general election which was annulled due to concerns about its legitimacy.

Gen Sonthi has said he was acting in line with the wishes of the Thai people, accusing the old government of corruption and fostering divisions in the country.

No comments: