Prayuth Wants No Politics During National Mourning

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Dr. Wayne Aldredge, president of the American Academy of Periodontology, holds a piece of dental floss at his office in Holmdel, N.J. Aldredge acknowledges the weak scientific evidence and the brief duration of many studies on flossing, but says that the impact of floss might be clearer if researchers focused on patients at the highest risk of gum disease, such as diabetics and smokers. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

BANGKOK — The media should avoid writing about politics and instead focus on the work of the government in the aftermath of King Bhumibol’s death, junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha said Friday.

Calling for unity made at a public event at the Muang Thong Thani exhibition hall, Gen. Prayuth said Thailand must move forward from political infighting and continue the legacy of the late monarch, who died Oct. 13 at 88.

Read: For Nation in Mourning, All Roads Lead to Sanam Luang

“The media should not write about politics these days, because we don’t have politics these days,” Prayuth said. “Write only about what work the government is doing, as guided by the wisdom of His Majesty, to fit with the situation. Please, don’t start any fights. Give us some time. Give some time for peace.”

Prayuth spoke at a time Thailand is still reeling from death of King Bhumibol, who ruled Thailand for 70 years and was considered a patriarchal figure by many. It was the first time the junta chairman had addressed political matters since the king’s death.

“Ministers have to help, too. Don’t be divisive. Don’t hate this person or that person. Enough,” he told those at a budget planning conference. “If you want to hate someone, just hate yourself, so you won’t trouble other people.”

The government has announced a year of national mourning, and all media have been asked to broadcast documentaries and biographies about His Majesty the Late King.

In Friday’s speech, the junta chairman called on the nation to made progress and prove its stability despite the sorrow gripping the realm.

“Foreign countries are watching us every day to see which direction Thailand is headed,” Gen. Prayuth said. “That’s why I’m telling you, we are between failure and glory … they will see whether Thailand is peaceful, whether Thailand is stable.”

Starting today, Prayuth’s weekly Friday addresses to the nation via a TV program called Returning Happiness to the People will be replaced by shows promoting the late king’s philosophy.

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