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Politics

Thai king's favorite to take over army, as PM's choice ignored

Move shows Prayuth's waning influence over military as big protest looms

Thai army chief Apirat Kongsompong speaks during an event with troops in Bangkok on Sept. 11.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- King Maha Vajiralongkorn's favorite serviceman, Gen. Narongphan Jitkaewthae, will take the reins as Thailand's next army chief in October after the incumbent's term expires, according to the government's public journal, Royal Gazette.

The rise of Narongphan reflects the influence of the palace over the military, a trend that emerged in 2016. Narongphan, who will serve as chief for three years, is a palace loyalist and trusted by the king, as were the current leader Gen. Apirat Kongsompong and his predecessor Gen. Chalermchai Sitthisart.

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