National Council for Peace and Order
The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO; Thai: คณะรักษาความสงบแห่งชาติ; RTGS: khana raksa khwam sangop haeng chat; abbreviated (Thai: คสช.; RTGS: khosocho) ) is the junta that has ruled Thailand since their 2014 Thai coup d'état on 22 May 2014. On 20 May 2014, the military had declared martial law nationwide in an attempt to stop the country's escalating political crisis, and to force the democratically elected government out. On 22 May, the military ousted the Yingluck Shinawatra government and formed the NCPO to take control of the country. The junta censored the broadcasting system in Thailand, suspended the constitution, and detained members of the Thai cabinet.
The original English name assumed by the junta was "National Peace and Order Maintaining Council" or "NPOMC". The name was later changed to "National Council for Peace and Order" or "NCPO" on 24 May 2014.
On 22 May 2014, the NCPO announced its composition and stated that its leader would exercise all powers and duties which the laws invest in the prime minister and the cabinet, until a new prime minister was elected or appointed.
On 23 May, the NCPO announced that short- and long-term national administrative policies would be determined by its leader. It assigned its members to government ministries and agencies.
On 24 May 2014, the NCPO dissolved the Senate and vested legislative power in its leader. It also ordered the judicial branch to operate under its directives. Later that day, it transferred Police General Adul Saengsingkaew, who was the Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police and also its deputy leader, to an inactive post in the office of the prime minister. Adul was replaced by Police General Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit.
On 26 May, King Bhumibol Adulyadej endorsed the coup, formally appointing General Prayut Chan-o-cha to "take charge of public administration" as of 24 May. The royal endorsement was seen as key to legitimising the coup.
|Office||Name||Military status||In charge of|
|Leader||Prayut Chan-o-cha||Royal Thai Army||General||Commander-in-Chief|
|Deputy Leader||Thanasak Patimaprakorn||Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters||General||Chief of the Armed Forces|
|Deputy Leader||Narong Pipathanasai||Royal Thai Navy||Admiral||Commander-in-Chief|
|Deputy Leader||Prajin Jantong||Royal Thai Air Force||Air Chief Marshal||Commander-in-Chief|
|Deputy Leader||Adul Sangsingkeo||Royal Thai Police||Police General||Former Commissioner-General
Minister of the Office of Prime Minister
|Secretary-General||Teerachai Nakwanich||Royal Thai Army||General||Deputy Commander-in-Chief|
|Deputy Secretary-General||Chatudom Titthasiri||Royal Thai Army||General||Deputy Commander-in-Chief|
|Spokesman||Winthai Suvaree||Royal Thai Army||Colonel||Vice Spokesman of the Army|
Board of consultantsEdit
On 26 May 2014, the NCPO announced the formation of its Board of Consultants:
|Chairman||Prawit Wongsuwan||Former Minister of Defence, (Abhisit Vejjajiva's cabinet)|
|Vice Chairman||Anupong Paochinda||Former commander-in-chief of the army|
|Vice Chairman||Pridiyathorn Devakula||Former Governor of the Bank of Thailand|
|Consultant||Somkid Jatusripitak||Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, (Thaksin Shinawatra's cabinet)|
|Consultant||Narongchai Akrasanee||Member of Thai Monetary Policy Committee and Former Minister of Trade, (Chavalit Yongchaiyudh's cabinet)|
|Consultant||Wissanu Krea-ngam||Former Deputy Prime Minister, (Thaksin Shinawatra's cabinet)|
|Consultant||Yongyuth Yuthavong||Former Minister of Science and Technology, (Surayud Chulanont's cabinet)|
|Consultant||Itthaporn Subhawong||Former commander-in-chief of the air force|
|Consultant||Noppadol Intapanya||Former secretary to Minister of Defence, (Prawit Wongsuwan)|
|Consultant and Secretary||Dowpong Rattanasuwan||Former vice commander-in-chief of the army|
Political motivations and objectivesEdit
The stated objective of the coup and NCPO was to restore order to Thailand and to enact political reforms.
Since taking over, the NCPO has made full use of martial law to prosecute opponents, ban political activity, and censor the media. More than 1,000 people, including academics, political bloggers, activists and politicians, have been detained or sent for "attitude adjustment" at military installations. There are allegations of torture. Prosecutions under the country's strict lèse majesté laws, which protect the monarchy from insult, have risen sharply. In its annual report in January 2015, Human Rights Watch said military rule had sent human rights in Thailand into "a freefall".
Decisions and futureEdit
The NCPO repealed the 2007 Constitution, save the second chapter which deals with the King. In addition, it formally ordered the dissolution of the caretaker government, while the senate is dissolved on order of the NCPO. Other state agencies, including the courts and the independent organs, remain operative.
The NCPO imposed a curfew throughout the country, ordering the people to stay indoors from 22:00 to 05:00. It laid down a ban on political gatherings and directed all protesters to disperse. It also ordered all educational institutes, both public and private, to close from 23 to 25 May 2014.
On 2 August 2014, a law was issued to determine monthly salaries and other monetary benefits for NCPO staff. General Prayut was granted 125,590 baht per month. Each of the other NCPO members was granted salaries of 119,920 baht per month. These salaries are in addition to the benefits they are already entitled to receive by virtue of their posts in the armed forces.
Reactions to the coupEdit
Immediately after the coup was announced, People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) protesters expressed their support for the takeover. Phra Buddha Issara, a Buddhist monk and PDRC co-leader, went on stage and proclaimed the victory of the anti-Yingluck Shinawatra government protesters before requesting that protesters return to their homes. Some pro-Shinawatra government protesters dispersed at the behest of the military, while others refused to leave. The NCPO provided 70 military vehicles to send protesters from both sides home.
- Canada - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird condemned the coup and said, "This decision violates Thailand's democratic principles and stands in stark contrast to the Army's earlier assurances that its role would be limited to securing public order. We hope and expect the Thai military will return Thailand to civilian rule as soon as possible, respect democratic processes and the rule of law, ensure freedom of expression and assembly, and guarantee due process for those who have been detained."
- EU – The European External Action Service (EEAS) called for the military to accept and respect the constitutional authority of civilian power and stressed "the importance of holding credible and inclusive elections as soon as feasible".
- France – President François Hollande condemned the coup and called for "an immediate return to the constitutional order and for a vote to be organised".
- UN — Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations issued a statement expressing concern over the coup, and called for "a prompt return to constitutional, civilian, democratic rule" and movement towards cooperation between the parties.
- US – Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the coup and said that "this act will have negative implications for the US–Thai relationship, especially for our relationship with the Thai military".
- UK — Britain expressed concern over the coup, however it did not go as far as to condemn it. The British Foreign Office urged British travelers to follow travel advice, and stated that, "We are concerned at the announcement of a military coup in Thailand and are following developments closely. We urge all sides to put aside their differences, and adhere to the values of democracy and the rule of law. This is clearly in the interests of the people of Thailand." They also added, "ongoing political instability and the continued violence undermine Thailand's democratic framework."
The NCPO in actionEdit
The government seized thousands of "divisive" blue medical boxes and towels intended for distribution to the elderly on 12 April 2016. The boxes were donated by the Democrat Party. The blue boxes carried the photo of Abhisit Vejjajiva, leader of the party. The military had only the week before seized almost 9,000 red Songkran water bowls from the Democrats' rival, the Pheu Thai Party. "The NCPO adheres to principles, righteousness and fairness under the same law. People may wonder why things cannot be handed out during this time of happiness, please understand the officials," said Colonel Piyapong Klinpan, NCPO spokesman. The Democrats had assembled more than 1,200 sets of medicine boxes and towels for the elderly in Phran Kratai District of Kamphaeng Phet Province, a party stronghold. The giveaways were aimed at marking Elderly Day on 13 April.
On 6 April 2017, a new constitution drafted by the NCPO was promulgated replacing the 2014 interim constitution. The transitory provisions of the 2017 constitution state that the NCPO will come to an end when a cabinet established after the first general election under this constitution takes office, but, until then, the NCPO retains its sweeping powers under the 2014 constitution. These provisions also constitutionalise all the actions as well as the announcements and orders of the NCPO.
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- "Capo dissolved, riot police ordered to withdraw". Bangkok Post. 20 May 2014. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
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- "สำนักข่่าวแห่งชาติ: National Peace and Order Maintaining Council Announcement 1/2014". Thainews.prd.go.th. Archived from the original on 2014-05-22. Retrieved 2014-05-23.
- "Junta summons TV operators, TV network operators". The Nation. 2014-05-24. Retrieved 2014-05-24.
- คสช. ตั้งบิ๊กตู่หัวหน้าคณะ ให้ รธน. สิ้นสุดชั่วคราว ครม. หมดอายุ วุฒิฯ-องค์กรอิสระยังอยู่ [Big Tu leads NOPCM, charter suspended, cabinet dissolved, senate and independent organs remain in existence]. Manager (in Thai). 2014-05-22. Retrieved 2014-05-22.
- คสช. สั่งผู้ประกอบการสื่อสังคมออนไลน์ระงับส่งข้อความยั่วยุ [NCPO orders all online media service providers to suspend provocative info]. Manager (in Thai). 2014-05-22. Retrieved 2014-05-23.
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- 'คสช.' ประกาศ ฉ. 22 จัดส่วนงาน-กำหนดหน้าที่ความรับผิดชอบ [NCPO announcement 22: arrangement of administrative agencies and determination of duties and responsibilities]. Thairath (in Thai). 2014-05-23. Retrieved 2014-05-23.
- "Senate dissolved, police chief sacked". Bangkok Post. 2014-05-24. Retrieved 2014-05-22.
- รวมประกาศ-คำสั่งคณะรักษาความสงบแห่งชาติ [A collection of NCPO announcements and orders]. Manager (in Thai). 2014-05-22. Retrieved 2014-05-24.
- คสช. ย้ายอดุลย์-ธาริต-นิพัทธ์ เข้ากรุสำนักนายกฯ - ยุบวุฒิสภา [NCPO moved Adul, Tarit, Nipat to inactive posts in OPM, dissolved Senate]. Manager (in Thai). 2014-05-24. Retrieved 2014-05-24.
- ประกาศแต่งตั้งหัวหน้าคณะรักษาความสงบแห่งชาติ [Proclamation on Appointment of Leader of the National Council for Peace and Order] (PDF). Government Gazette (in Thai). Bangkok: Cabinet Secretariat (Volume 131, Special Part 82 D): 1. 2014-05-26. Retrieved 2014-05-27.
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- คสช. ประกาศกฎอัยการศึกทั่วราชอาณาจักร-เคอร์ฟิวห้ามออกนอกบ้าน 4 ทุ่มถึงตี 5 [NCPO imposed martial law and curfew nationwide, people must be indoors from 22:00 to 05:00 hrs]. Manager (in Thai). 2014-05-22. Retrieved 2014-05-22.
- "Schools out Friday to Sunday". Bangkok Post. 2014-05-22. Retrieved 2014-05-22.
- เปิดบัญชีอัตราเงินตอบแทน "หัวหน้า คสช. - สนช. - สปช." [Let's see a list of remunerations of NCPO leader, NLA and NRC]. Isra News (in Thai). 2014-08-02. Retrieved 2014-08-02.
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- คสช. จัดรถส่งผู้ชุมนุมทุกกลุ่มกลับภูมิลำเนา [NCPO provides cars to send all protesters home]. Manager (in Thai). 2014-05-22. Retrieved 2014-05-23.
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