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Thai PM to announce decision on lifting martial law next week

[JURIST] Thai Defense Minister Boonrawd Somtas said Thursday that newly installed Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont [official website; BBC profile] will likely lift martial law [JURIST report] before he leaves for an international summit in Vietnam on November 18. Thailand [JURIST news archive] has been under martial law [JURIST report] since the Thai military seized power from former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [JURIST news archive] in a bloodless coup [JURIST report] in September. Somtas said Chulanont was considering lifting the law since Thailand's allies who also plan to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation [official website] summit, including the US and Japan, will be "more comfortable" if martial law is lifted. The US urged Thailand to lift martial law [JURIST report] last month, pulling almost $24 million in funding from the Thai government.

Somtas, however, also said that the prime minister will take into account the risk still posed by Thaksin's supporters, who have been making efforts to destabilize the political structure [JURIST report] of the country since the takeover. Chulanont is expected to make his final decision on lifting martial law before next Tuesday. AFP has more.

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