Who is he?
General Prawit Wongsuwan, 68, served as minister of defense in the government of Abhisit Vejjajiva from 2008 to 2011 and was the commander of the Royal Thai Army from 2004 to 2005. He is a well-known figure in the Thai military establishment.
Prawit is a leading member of the “Eastern Tigers,” a faction in the Thai military consisting of mostly military officials who had served in the prestigious 21st Infantry Regiment, also known as the Queen’s Guard.
Why is he in the news?
On May 27, Prawit was appointed chairman of an advisory board to the National Council for Peace and Order – the governing body of the Thai military junta set up following the May 22 coup – overseeing security, economy, and legal affairs. Other members of this board include General Anupong Paojinda, who was Thailand’s army chief during the 2006 military coup that ousted Thaksin Shinawatra, and Somkid Jatusripitak, former deputy prime minister under Thaksin.
What can we expect from him?
Known for being anti-Thaksin, Prawit has been a strong supporter of anti-government protests that preceded the downfall of the government of Yingluck Shinawatra. His position on the advisory board will allow him to hold sway over security affairs until new elections are held or a new government is appointed.