Army chiefs are influential in most countries, but in Thailand the head of the military enjoys exceptional, if not excessive, power.

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Army chiefs are influential in most countries, but in Thailand the head of the military enjoys exceptional, if not excessive, power.

That power – and with it responsibility for the Bangkok elite’s simmering war against the upcountry Red Shirt movement – is about to pass to General Prayuth Chan-ocha, the army’s current deputy commander. Pending the King’s rubber stamp, Prayuth will take the baton on 1 October when the serving chief retires, the defence ministry confirmed this week.

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