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The last time most Thais saw politician Suthep Thaugsuban was in 2015 when he entered the Buddhist monkhood and announced his retirement after spearheading protests that culminated in a military coup against a government he detested.

The military, after taking power, clamped a tight lid on politics, and the rivalry between the military-royalist establishment and new upstart political forces that had roiled the country for a decade was stifled.

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