Fears of a backlash or counter-coup in Thailand have so far proved unfounded as the country comes to terms with life under military rule. Soldiers patrolling the streets in Bangkok have been feted by some people but these sentiments are unlikely to be shared in other parts of the country where Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has strong support..
Military commanders say they ousted him because there was no other way out of a protracted political crisis. The army general who led the coup has visited the king and says his “Political Reform Council” has now been legitimised by a royal proclamation.
He has said the the military will cede power to a newly appointed prime minister in two weeks.
He added that a new cabinet would form a special committee to draw up a new constitution and submit it to a referendum. That would lead to a fresh general election, he added.
It remains unclear when and if Thaksin will return to country. Analysts say while he is mistrusted by urban populations he still enjoys considerable support in rural areas. He is in London now having flown there from New York where he first learned of Tuesday’s bloodless coup. The military leadership have encouraged him to return saying he will not face any new investigations. But they have made it clear he is still face existing charges, including election fraud.
The country’s first coup in 15 years has been condemned by much of the international community.