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Virus Gives Embattled Thai Premier Chance to Consolidate Power

  • Former coup leader once again has sweeping emergency powers
  • $58 billion stimulus plan is latest effort to counter Covid-19

Thailand’s coup chief-turned-premier Prayuth Chan-Ocha has regained sweeping emergency powers to fight the coronavirus outbreak, pinning his political fate to the response he crafts as discontent grows.

This week he confirmed a $58 billion stimulus package to mitigate the economic fallout, after earlier efforts were described as insufficient for a country heading into recession. Even before the virus crisis, Prayuth and his establishment backers faced escalating protests from critics who dispute the fairness of the election last year that led to his return as leader.