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Prayut Chan-o-cha
ประยุทธ์ จันทร์โอชา

Prayut Chan-o-cha (cropped) 2016.jpg
Prime Minister of Thailand
Assumed office
22 May 2014
Acting: 22 May - 24 August 2014
Monarch Bhumibol Adulyadej
Preceded by Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan (Acting)
Minister of Defence
Assumed office
10 July 2019
Prime Minister Himself
Preceded by Prawit Wongsuwan
Head of the National Council for Peace and Order
In office
22 May 2014 – 16 July 2019
Deputy Prawit Wongsuwan
Thanasak Patimaprakorn
Narong Pipathanasai
Prajin Juntong
Adul Sangsingkeo
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Position dissolved
Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Army
In office
1 May 2010 – 30 September 2014
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva
Yingluck Shinawatra
Preceded by Anupong Paochinda
Succeeded by Udomdej Sitabutr
Personal details
Born 21 March 1954 (1954-03-21) (age 66)
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
Political party Palang Pracharath Party
Height 1.82 m (5 ft 12 in)
Spouse(s) Naraporn Chan-o-cha
Children 2
Alma mater National Defence College
Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy
Net worth 128 million baht (2014)
Military service
Allegiance Thailand
Branch/service Royal Thai Army
Years of service 1972–2014
Rank General
Commands Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army
Chief of Staff of the Royal Thai Army
First Army
2nd Infantry Division

Prayut Chan-o-cha (sometimes spelt Prayuth Chan-ocha; born 21 March 1954) is a Thai politician, retired Royal Thai Army general officer and former leader of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), the military junta which ruled Thailand between 22 May 2014 and 10 July 2019. As of August 2019 he serves as Prime Minister of Thailand, Thailand's Defence Minister, and head of the Royal Thai Police. In addition, he assumed the duties of Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak as head of the government's economic team and oversees the Justice Ministry's Department of Special Investigation (DSI).

Prayut is a former Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Army, the post he held from October 2010 to October 2014. After his appointment as army chief, Prayut was characterised as a strong royalist and an opponent of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Considered a hardliner within the military, he was one of the leading proponents of military crackdowns on the Red Shirt demonstrations of April 2009 and April–May 2010. He later sought to moderate his profile, talking to relatives of protesters who were killed in the conflict, and co-operating with the government of Yingluck Shinawatra who won parliamentary elections in July 2011.

During the political crisis that began in November 2013 and involved protests against the caretaker government of Yingluck, Prayut claimed that the army was neutral, and would not launch a coup. However in May 2014, Prayut staged a military coup against the government and assumed control of the country as NCPO leader. He later issued an interim constitution granting himself sweeping powers and giving himself amnesty for staging the coup. In August 2014, an unelected military-dominated national legislature appointed him Prime Minister.

After seizing power, Prayut's government oversaw a significant crackdown on dissent. He formulated “twelve values” based on traditional Thai values and suggested that these be included in school lessons. Measures were implemented to limit public discussions about democracy and criticism of the government, including increases in Internet and media censorship. Prayut became Prime Minister of Thailand following the 2019 Thai general election.

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