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Thailand maintaining martial law indefinitely in some provinces: military leader

[JURIST] Martial law [JURIST news archive] will remain in some regions of Thailand indefinitely, General Winai Phattiyakul said Monday, citing unspecified security concerns in border provinces. Winai said that martial law will be lifted in some provinces, but gave no specifics on when that might occur. Martial law 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 2006. The government approved a measure last November lifting martial law in Bangkok and 40 other provinces [JURIST report], but kept martial law in 35 of the country's 76 provinces [JURIST report]. AFP has more.

Last month, Thai voters approved a draft constitution [JURIST report] put forth by the country's military-backed interim government. The new constitution [text; JURIST report] replaces Thailand's 1997 charter. Interim Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont [BBC profile] had urged voters to participate in the referendum, calling it a way for people to assert their rights and help decide Thailand's future. Under the draft constitution, Thai prime ministers will be limited to two terms in office and will be subject to easier impeachment. The Thai House of Representatives will be reduced from 500 seats to 400 seats, 320 of which will be directly elected and 80 appointed from party lists.

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