This is the full text of the statement read on Thai TV on Wednesday by Army chief Gen Sonthi Boonyaratglin, following Tuesday's coup:
Gen Sonthi appeared in front of portraits of the king and queen
Dear fellow countrymen and women, the Administrative Reform Group Under the Democratic System with the King as the Head of State, has successfully seized the administrative power.
As a result, the constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand , the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Cabinet, and the Constitution Court have ceased to exist.
In this connection, the Administrative Reform Group Under the Democratic System with the King as the Head of State - comprising the supreme commander and commanders of the armed forces and the National Police Bureau - has the opinion that the administration of the country by the caretaker government has created severe division unprecedented in Thai society.
The practices of corruption and malfeasance and nepotism are apparently rampant within the bureaucracy.
Moreover, there is interference with independent organizations to the extent that they are unable to perform their duties or resolve problems of the country.
If the situation is allowed to continue, national stability and economy will be affected as a whole.
Occasional political activities could have affected the dignity of His Majesty the King - the beloved monarch of the Thai people.
Therefore, the Reform Group Under the Democratic System with the King as the Head of State has the necessity to seize the administrative power in order to control and rectify the situation and bring normalcy to the country and quickly restore the people's unity.
In so doing, the Reform Group Under the Democratic System with the King as the Head of State wishes to reaffirm that it has no intention to become the administrator of the country itself, and it will return the democratic administrative power with the king as the head of state to the Thai people as soon as possible.
The group has pledged to maintain peace and order and preserve the stability of the beloved nation of the Thai people. We hereby request our fellow countrymen and women to stay calm and support our noble aspirations.