A year after the military seized power in a bloodless coup, critics appear to have been effectively silenced.
Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has said he is committed to stepping down from power following democratic elections – which have not yet been scheduled.
Talking to Al Jazeera’s Scott Heidler in Bangkok, Prayuth said that under its roadmap, the military government had completed the “first phase” and is now in the “second phase,” where they are in the process of drafting a new constitution.
“When people are OK with the new constitution, it will lead to another phase, [the] general election,” he said.
“After the election, I will pack my bag and go home. I will be sitting at home watching Thailand progress in the right direction.”
Thailand’s military toppled the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in a coup last May and Prayuth was installed as leader.
Rights groups say Thailand’s new rulers have continued to stifle dissent, with some saying the new constitution will curtail the power of political parties and favour the country’s traditional military and bureaucratic elite.
In the interview with Al Jazeera, Prayuth also discussed Thailand’s role in the Southeast Asian migrant crisis, after a three-star Thai general handed himself in to authorities this week when human trafficking allegations surfaced involving him.
“One thing I would like to make it clear is this military government has been working hard on solving human trafficking problems,” Prayuth said.
“There was not any other government before working as we do now. It is not an easy task to clean up the whole network or system.”
The entire Talk to Al Jazeera interview with Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha will be broadcast from 04:30 GMT on Saturday, June 6.