"The Military Will Withdraw From Politics"

HELEN KUDRICH FOR TIME

Thai General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, photographed in Bangkok on February 27, 2007

For a general who led Thailand's first coup in 15 years, Sonthi Boonyaratglin is projecting a deliberately civilian image. Dressed in a dapper dark suit and yellow tie, Sonthi eschewed his usual army uniform for his Feb. 27 meeting with TIME's Hannah Beech and Robert Horn. But a suit, no matter how handsome, cannot suspend the reality that a military junta, called the Council for National Security (CNS), now runs the country. The CNS ousted elected Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra last Sept. 19. At first, the overthrow of the billionaire P.M. was greeted with much public acclaim. Today, however, the CNS...

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