Thai PM vows to uphold democracy, with Thai features

Thai PM vows to uphold democracy, with Thai features

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha vowed yesterday that he was building democracy for the country - but said it would not be 100 per cent like democracy in Western countries.

Speaking at the opening ceremony for an essay contest promoting the Twelve Core Values, Prayut said he was aware that his government was installed by undemocratic means.

"Although I took power in this way [coup], I understand democratic means and we will not fail democracy. We will take care of the people well and equally," he said.

People would be able to access justice equally and fairly, he said. "Please be confident in the existing justice system," he said. "We have to reduce conflicts and stay away from them," he said, "I myself from now on will never talk about anything to ignite conflict.

"Reporters should also ask less questions about this [conflict]. It's useless. For anything that has already proceeded to the justice system, you should ask the question there," he said. "If you ask me and I answer, there will be some problems," he said.

He said his government was laying the fundamental groundwork for the future of the country and trying to solve problems from the past.

"I chair countless committees to take care of all aspects - economic, finance, fiscal and education. I need to explain to the public what I have done for one hour every Friday. Hopefully, it will not bother people too much. I might take your time from TV soap operas but you can follow them on YouTube later, so please listen to me - you will understand," he said.

"If you want something from the government, please wait until the elected government comes in and ask them," he said. "So, next time, please elect a good government into power. Today, we are now moving toward democracy but we also need to enforce the law, which will never cause trouble for you unless you do something wrong," Prayut said.

"If you understand the situation, I think the majority can accept this," he said. "Democracy is the best, but how do we make our democracy move forward? We have to put Thai elements into the democracy, but it will not contradict international values," he said.

"Well, having to come out to show a three finger salute is a crisis, so why don't we translate that crisis into opportunities," he said. "Protest, yes, you can protest, but don't bring a bomb or an M-16 onto the street. That should not be part of democracy," he said.

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