Thaksin impolite to King: Sonthi
Council for National Security chief General Sonthi Boonyaratglin has told Time magazine the ousted Thaksin Shinawatra regime was "disrespectful" of His Majesty the King and the Royal Family.
In an interview published in the latest Asia issue of Time, Sonthi says: "There are many cases in which the previous government was impolite to the Royal Family and to the King himself.
"The Thai people cannot and will not tolerate anybody who shows even slight disrespect to the King or his family."
Sonthi led the September 2006 coup that ousted Thaksin and his government.
He defended his action on the grounds that the Thaksin regime failed to deliver true democracy. The military had to step in, he said.
"There was interference with many organisations, especially the independent organisations established to oversee and scrutinise the government's actions. The previous government wanted to control the whole system.
"That [led to] large-scale corruption [and] vote-buying during local and general elections. The people knew about these things, and they could not accept it. As far as the army staging a coup, we could not just do it on our own. We needed the consent of the people to help us preserve democracy," he said.
Meanwhile, Thaksin on Friday delivered a speech to the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. He called the address "Democracy at a Crossroads".
The former prime minister also told reporters that he wants to help in the political reconciliation process in Thailand and hopes the Council for National Security, which ousted his previous adminsitration, would be successful in returning the country to normalcy.
In his speech, Thaksin ironically talked about the values of democracy in national development.
Thaksin said effective participation, voting equality and free, fair and frequent elections were requirements inherent in the democratic process.
He added that freedom of expression, access to different and alternative sources of information and freedom of association were essential too.