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Thai constitution drafter confirms military leaders will retain role in government

[JURIST] A writer of the draft constitution [JURIST report] for Thailand [JURIST news archive] confirmed Thursday that the country's military rulers, who seized control [JURIST report] in a bloodless coup on September 19, will have a continued role in the otherwise-civilian government after a new prime minister is appointed. Meechai Ruchupan, a former Senate speaker and the military's current chief lawyer who helped compose the draft charter, said that the military leaders will have the power to remove a future prime minister and the authority to call Cabinet meetings to resolve administrative matters. Sapa-AP has more.

The 39-article draft text published in Thai newspapers also calls for a Council of National Security (CNS) to be formed, which will be staffed by the military rulers, and allows the CNS chairman to counter-sign appointments of the new prime minister, his cabinet and other official roles. Army Commander-in-Chief Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratkalin [BBC profile] is expected to become CNS chairman after the document receives royal approval, but Ruchupan said the CNS would not actually have the power to force the cabinet to do anything; rather, their role would be to give advice on critical situations and how they should be handled. Military leaders are expected to submit the draft constitution to King Bhumibol Adulyadej [profile] on Saturday and an announcement regarding a candidate to replace ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile] is also anticipated for this weekend. Reuters has more; the Press Trust of India has additional coverage.

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