'We had to destroy democracy in order to save it' - that is the sentiment in Bangkok, a variation on the warped logic expressed during the Vietnam war, after the coup that deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Mr Thaksin was democratically elected, yet Thailand's most liberal democrats are among those struggling to hide their delight in his ousting at the end of a tank barrel. The billionaire populist would almost certainly have won a fresh poll slated for November - a fact that merely underlines the contradictory views about the new junta. Outside Thailand, Tuesday night's coup has been widely condemned as a disturbing event for a proud young democracy considered liberated from a coup-prone past. Inside, it is a different story - soldiers acting in the name of constitutional democracy to oust an elected tyrant. A swift endorsement of the coup leaders by King Bhumibol Adulyadej appeared to have silenced opposition among the rural poor, previously key to Mr Thaksin's support. Korn Chatikavanij, deputy leader of the opposition Democrat Party, captured the mood yesterday as he sought to justify Thailand's first coup in 15 years. 'I can confidently say that we are now better off,' Mr Korn said. 'The path to a resolution after months of deadlock and impasse is now straightforward and clear, and I am sure our democratic institutions will be stronger as a result.' Mr Korn was among the first to mention the c-word when he said six months ago that a military coup - followed by a swift handover to civilian rule - would not be as bad as another five years of what he called Mr Thaksin's 'corrupt and dictatorial' rule. The former chairman of JPMorgan Thailand insisted he and his party had no direct involvement in the coup and had not endorse it. He said he was surprised the so far bloodless coup happened. He described the event as an 'opportunity' for democracy - as long as the generals meet their promises. As a result, he said foreign investors and businessmen had no reason to panic, since it could only boost economic stability. Mr Korn said the Democrat Party would soon be meeting the generals on the self-styled Council of Administrative Reform to ensure they make good on pledges of a stronger constitution and an election by October next year. The council, headed by army chief General Sondhi Boonyaratkalin, has also pledged to appoint a 'neutral' civilian leader within two weeks. Mr Korn said it was vital the council created an independent commission to pull in a wide range of public opinion in drafting a new constitution. Specifically, he said ways had to be found to strengthen supposedly independent institutions such as the Senate and Electoral Commission. Mr Thaksin's opponents have long warned he was able to gain back-room control of audit bodies, neutralising any opposition. Mr Korn said the Democrats would hold the generals to their pledge to ensure corruption allegations were thoroughly investigated. But even if everything went according to plan, what will safeguard future elected leaders from the constant threat of military takeover? 'I think the events of the last few days have shown just how far we have come in terms of democracy over the past few years,' Mr Korn said. 'The generals have spelled out a clear rationale for their actions, expressing concern at the corrupt and dictatorial nature of Mr Thaksin's rule. 'It is highly significant that they have only acted under the rationale of constitutional development and considering the social cohesion of Thai society. That just did not happen in the past.' Mr Korn disagrees with those who say that the constitution holds all the answers, saying 'nothing can legislate against a Thaksin'. 'We thought we had a pretty good document in place after the last constitution was drafted eight or nine years ago ... yet Mr Thaksin was still able to subvert that. What is important is the wider faith in democracy across the society ... and that is in place.'