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Thailand interim government lifts ban on registration of new political parties

[JURIST] Thailand's interim-government [JURIST report] lifted a ban on the registration of new political parties Wednesday, after the military-appointed National Legislative Assembly (NLA) [Wikipedia backgrounder] approved legislation formally ending the ban instituted by the military after its September 2006 coup [JURIST report]. The move will allow members of the dissolved Thai Rak Thai (TRT) [party website; JURIST report], in power before the coup, to commence plans to recreate the TRT [JURIST report] by registering a "new" party, possibly under the same name. Some political observers have expressed doubts about whether the Election Commission of Thailand will approve the party registration application before general elections tentatively scheduled for December. A delegate at the NLA has also indicated that the NLA will move to ban the registration of new parties using the same name, logo or platform of dissolved parties.

Meanwhile, interim Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont [official profile; BBC profile] is currently pushing for the approval of a new constitution, which will be submitted to a general referendum on August 19. Chulanont has ordered government officials to promote support for the draft [Bangkok Post report], and the NLA is expected to pass a bill later this month to penalize opposition to the referendum. If the draft constitution is rejected by popular referendum, military leaders are authorized under the interim constitution to revise an earlier constitution. AFP has more.

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