Thai general promises not to stage coup after election

Thai soldiers stand guard as anti-government protest leaders meet with army chief General Prayut Chan-O-Cha at the Army Club in Bangkok on May 22, 2014. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Thailand's last coup was in 2014

The chief of Thailand's army has pledged that the military will not stage a coup after the next election.

The Thai military has successfully seized power 12 times since 1932, in addition to seven failed attempts.

General Chalermchai Sitthisat said the military would respect the outcome of an upcoming election.

The ruling junta has repeatedly promised to restore civilian rule since toppling the elected government in a coup three years ago.

Some members of the military government said the election, planned for late 2017, would be delayed until 2018 in order to pass the necessary election laws.

But a government spokesperson, Major General Sansern Kaewkamnerd, said the election was on track to be held later this year.

In an interview, a journalist asked Mr Sitthisat whether the military might intervene after the election.

He replied: "I can confirm that there won't be a coup. What would be a reason for having to have the coup? There won't be a coup. We have already learned from what happened."

His remarks have been mocked by some social media users.

"Why ask such a question," said Facebook user Pim Pongchandr. "We all know what he was going to answer. Who would say yes?"

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