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Army to dominate new Thai national assembly

More than half of Thailand's new national assembly, appointed by the junta, will comprise of active or retired military officers, according to an official document published late Thursday (July 31).

BANGKOK: More than half of Thailand's new national assembly, appointed by the junta, will comprise of active or retired military officers, according to an official document published late Thursday (July 31).

Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej approved the appointment of just over 100 army officers and around a dozen police officers - serving or retired - to the 200-seat body which will meet for the first time next week, said the royal gazette. "His majesty has endorsed a decree to convene the national assembly on 7 August," said the document published online.

The assembly will be charged with picking a new interim prime minister, assisted by a 250-strong reform council which will be hand-picked by the junta. The Thai military seized power after nearly seven months of protests saw 28 people killed and paralysed the government of former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Earlier this month the junta, formally known as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), said it would remain in place alongside an interim government to maintain control of national security. Army chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha has ruled out holding elections in Thailand until around October 2015, despite appeals from the United States and the European Union for a return to democracy.

The coup was the latest chapter in a long-running political crisis broadly pitting Yingluck's brother, ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, and his supporters against a royalist establishment backed by parts of the military and judiciary.

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