Former PM Meets Coup Leaders Amid Mass Summons

Former Prime Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisarn has reporting to the military junta, 23 May 2014.

BANGKOK —Former Prime Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisarn has reported to the military junta, after the coup leaders summoned over 100 politicians and activists to their headquarters this morning.

Mr. Niwatthamrong, who was ousted in a military coup just yesterday, arrived at the Army Club in Thavet district at around 9:35 a.m. It is reported that former Labour Minister and chairman of the now-dissolved Centre for Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO), Chalerm Yoobamrung, accompanied Mr. Niwatthamrong to meet with the armed forces.

The meeting was convened by the military’s National Peace and Order Maintaining Council (NPOMC), which took power in a televised address yesterday evening.

More than 100 prominent politicians and activists have been instructed to meet with the military, including former PM Yingluck Shinawatra and her sister Yaowapa Wongsawat. Both are siblings of the influential former PM, Thaksin Shinwatra, who was similarly ousted in a 2006 military coup.

It is not immediately clear whether Ms. Yingluck and Ms. Yaowapa will comply with the military’s summons.

Mr. Niwatthamrong’s arrival at the Army Club this morning effectively dispelled rumours—and hopes—among his Redshirt supporters that the ex-PM was planning to announce a "parallel government" to oppose the military takeover. 

One version of the rumour alleged that the former Prime Minister was seeking shelter in the US Embassy in Bangkok. US Ambassador to Thailand, Kristie Kenny, personally denied the rumour on her Twitter account last night.

The area surrounding the Army Club in Thavet is being heavily guarded by armed troops and sealed off from the traffic.

Reporters are not allowed to enter the Army Club. 

Meanwhile, sources from the former ruling Pheu Thai Party claim that the whereabouts of its spokesperson, Prompong Nopparit, is currently unknown. Mr. Prompong is thought to have been detained by the military shortly after the coup was announced.

 

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