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Thailand military leader promises to lift martial law by year-end

[JURIST] Thailand Army Commander-in-Chief General Sonthi Boonyaratglin [BBC profile], the leader of the military coup [JURIST report; AHRC backgrounder] that deposed civilian prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [JURIST news archive] in September, told CNN in an interview broadcast Friday that the martial law imposed on the country [JURIST news archive] in the aftermath of the takeover would be lifted by the end of the year. He made the comment after being pressed to go beyond vaguer expressions of "when possible" and "soon". The country's Defense Secretary said afterwards that martial law would "definitely be lifted before the new year," but the head of the country's military council, the Council for National Security (CNS), added later that "This is not for the whole country as martial law will be maintained in some areas." VOA has more. The Bangkok Post has local coverage.

The country's National Legislative Assembly [JURIST report], convened to draft a new permanent constitution for Thailand, is meanwhile preparing to debate the possible dissolution of five Thai political parties, including Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai party and the leading opposition Democrat party. The Assembly is chaired by Thailand Supreme Court president Panya Thanomrod. TNA has more.

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