Skip to main content

Army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha named Thailand's new prime minister

By Hilary Whiteman, CNN
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 0721 GMT (1521 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Thai national assembly chooses coup leader as new prime minister
  • General Prayuth Chan-ocha was the sole candidate for the post
  • Military seized power in May after months of political instability

(CNN) -- The military leader who took control of Thailand in a coup in May has been named the country's prime minister.

Thailand's National Legislative Assembly selected General Prayuth Chan-ocha to lead the government in a vote on Thursday.

He was the sole candidate for the post.

Members of the assembly were chosen by Prayuth; more than half are also in the military.

Prayuth seized control of the country on May 22, 2014 after months of unrest destabilized the elected government, led by former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Thailand's response to TIP report
Jolie visits refugees in Thailand
One month of military rule in Thailand

Yingluck's promotion as leader in 2011 led to violent protests and counter-protests amid calls for her to resign.

Critics accused Yingluck of acting as a mouthpiece for her brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was deposed in the last coup in 2006 and is now living in exile.

After taking power, military authorities summoned leading political officials and other prominent figures. It imposed travel bans and delivered the firm message that dissent would not be tolerated.

King's approval

A curfew was imposed, the military threw out the constitution, and Prayuth announced he'd be assuming powers to act as prime minister until a new one took office.

Prayuth's formal promotion to the role needs to be approved by Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, though that's considered a formality. The military leader announced in May that he had the revered King's backing to assume leadership.

Since taking power, the Thai military has enforced the rule of law, seizing guns, arresting suspected criminals and shutting down illegal businesses.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Thailand coup
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 0721 GMT (1521 HKT)
The military leader who took control of Thailand in a coup in May has been named the country's prime minister.
June 16, 2014 -- Updated 0437 GMT (1237 HKT)
Thailand's new military ruler has added a personal touch to the post-coup charm offensive, writing the lyrics to a pro-junta ballad.
June 10, 2014 -- Updated 0503 GMT (1303 HKT)
Pageant winner Weluree "Fai" Ditsayabut has relinquished her title under a barrage of criticism over her comments about red shirts.
June 4, 2014 -- Updated 1132 GMT (1932 HKT)
They may not be led by Katniss Everdeen, but Thai protesters have adopted one of her symbols. Jessica King reports.
May 26, 2014 -- Updated 0729 GMT (1529 HKT)
The general who seized control of Thailand in a coup has announced he has received royal endorsement to run the country.
May 25, 2014 -- Updated 1901 GMT (0301 HKT)
Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is no longer in military custody, according to a highly placed source in the junta.
May 25, 2014 -- Updated 0936 GMT (1736 HKT)
Photos of the demonstrations against military rule in Thailand.
May 24, 2014 -- Updated 2003 GMT (0403 HKT)
U.S. suspends $3.5 million in aid to Thailand after the military took charge of the country.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 1205 GMT (2005 HKT)
Thailand's military declared Thursday that it has taken control of the country in a coup. What does it mean? Here's our explainer.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 1206 GMT (2006 HKT)
If you're planning on visiting the country, you should be aware of what's going on.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0855 GMT (1655 HKT)
The U.S. Ambassador to Thailand, Kristie Kenney, reacts to the Thai military coup.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 1204 GMT (2004 HKT)
The Thai military has censored TV and radio -- and social media could be next.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 1802 GMT (0202 HKT)
Many people are going about their lives as normal -- some are even responding playfully.
One iReporter living in Bangkok says he is more worried about neighborhood snakes than the military coup.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 2148 GMT (0548 HKT)
Thailand's military chief announces coup in a televised national address.
ADVERTISEMENT