The Nation



Retired military chiefs call on top brass to back public

Three retired military chiefs on Friday issued a joint statement calling on the Royal Thai Armed Forces to show their stance by siding with the people and calling on the caretaker prime minister and her Cabinet to step down in order to make way for much-needed reform.

General Wimol Wongwanich, who was Army commander until 1995; Air Chief Marshal Kant Phimanthip, Air Force commander until 1997; and Admiral Wichet Karunyawanic, Navy commander until 1997; cited the Yingluck government's dismissal of the Constitutional Court's verdict on charter amendment as one of the key reasons. They also cited the Pheu Thai-dominated vote backing the legislation, and the lack of action in combating defamation of the monarchy.

"It is time for the Armed Forces' commanders to take a stance and side with the monarchy and the people. Also, the caretaker PM and her Cabinet must quit and make way for the private sector, civil servants, academics and the public to implement reforms and lead the country out of the crisis," the statement said.

Colonel Thanathip Sawangsaeng, spokesman for the Defence Ministry, yesterday welcomed the statement from the former military chiefs, but cited the ministry's stance to protect the Constitution through lawful means.

"Defence Ministry permanent secretary General Niphat Thonglek received the statements and thanks the chiefs for their concern," he said. He said the ministry will speak to the Election Commission and find out how to act upon a proposal to get military personnel to help in the voting process. He reiterated that the ministry supported the February 2 election.

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