[JURIST] Thailand's cabinet voted Tuesday to lift martial law [JURIST news archive] in 221 of the country's 400 districts where it is still in force, according to Deputy Secretary-General of the National Security Council Thawil Pliensri. Martial law will remain in effect in 179 districts because of security concerns regarding drug trafficking and illegal immigration. The Thai military imposed martial law nationwide after it seized power from civilian prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [JURIST news archive] in a bloodless coup [JURIST report] in September 2006. In November the Thai cabinet approved a measure to lift the restriction in 41 of the country's 76 provinces [JURIST report], including Bangkok. Earlier this month a Thai military leader suggested martial law might remain in force indefinitely [JURIST report] in some border provinces, citing unspecified security concerns.
The cabinet's latest decision comes nearly two months in advance of the country's first elections since Thaksin's ouster, scheduled for December 23. King Bhumibol Adulyadej [official profile] must approve the measure before it can be implemented. AP has more. The Bangkok Post has local coverage.