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Thai election

Thai general spars with candidates over military budget

Army chief condemns calls to curb expenditure trumpeting 'hateful' anthem

Thai Royal Guards march in a military parade. The army chief has entered the electoral fray by criticizing policies proposed by certain parties.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- As Thailand prepares to return to civilian rule with elections in March, the army chief's jab at parties calling to shrink defense spending has put the spotlight on the military's political role moving forward.

Given the country's long history with coups, the recent controversy has fueled questions on whether civilian leaders are truly equipped to keep the military in check when they take back the reins for the first time since 2014.

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