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Thailand military leader says martial law still necessary in 35 provinces

[JURIST] Thai Army Commander-in-Chief General Sonthi Boonyaratglin [BBC profile] said Tuesday that martial law will remain in force in 35 of Thailand's 76 provinces. Martial law [JURIST news archive] was imposed nationwide after the Thai military seized power from civilian prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [JURIST news archive] in a bloodless coup [JURIST report] in September. The government approved a measure in late November lifting martial law in Bangkok and 40 other provinces [JURIST report]. Sonthi said that the additional measures are necessary in the remaining 35 provinces because lifting martial law would hinder officials in carrying out security duties and would "give advantages to violent instigators."

Sonthi stressed that coup leaders do not intend to hold on to power once a new civilian government is in place. Members of Thailand's National People's Assembly (NPA) [Nation report] are meeting this week to select a preliminary list of NPA members who will participate on a committee to draft a new constitution and a military official has said that only one or two military officers would be included [JURIST report] in the latter group. AP has more.

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