Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday told a group of returning students that he was sorry for seizing power last year, but something had to be done to break the political deadlock.
"I did not want this to happen but it was necessary, so I apologise to all of you," he said.
The 37 students back home from studying in the United States and Europe and 76 of their parents had joined a ceremony at Government House to honour Their Majesties the King and Queen and HRH Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on her 60th birthday.
The reception for Thai students from abroad is held every two years.
The students were special envoys who could help enhance the understanding of foreign countries about Thailand's situation, he said.
Social media was now becoming all the rage, but students should consume only useful information and exercise sound judgement before arriving at any conclusion, he said.
They should not believe anything without reason. They were studying in more advanced countries so the government asked them to help explain to foreign countries that the current government is trying to strengthen the country.
Though this government came to power in an inappropriate way in the eyes of advanced nations, the country had faced an impasse for too long. Something had to be done, he said.
After taking control, the government has ruled the country under a provisional charter and strictly follows the rules. The government has neither vested interests nor political interests. It has been working to reduce disparities and increase income.
"Democracy is the best system but it's not without flaws. The advantage is that people can participate through elections, public referendums and getting representatives to solve problems.
"I go to the polls every time to elect representatives but many problems are not solved, they just get worse. We had to suspend democracy first and strengthen our immune system,'' he said.
The students should explain to foreigners the significance of the Thai monarchy, he said.
Thai kings were regarded as divine and could not be compared with kings of other countries. Thai kings are above all conflicts and that's why Article 112 of the Criminal Code is necessary to help protect the monarchy from being violated.
"Would you allow anyone to insult your father? Thai kings cannot sue anyone. As Thais we have to protect the royal institution. Anyone who doesn't understand this isn't a Thai,'' he said.