Thailand's ruling junta chief has ruled out holding elections for a year and three months to allow time for the country to enact political reforms and pursue "reconciliation" in the fiercely divided nation.
"The [ruling military regime] have a timeframe of one year and three months to move towards elections," said army chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha in a televised address more than a week after an army takeover.
He said a first three-month phase would focus on "reconciliation" while the cabinet and a new draft constitution would be put in place during a second year-long phase. Only after this could elections be held, he said.
Thailand's military seized power on May 22, suspending the constitution, curtailing civil liberties under martial law and imposing a nightly curfew.
It is the 19th coup or attempted coup in Thailand's modern history.
The junta also rounded up scores of political figures – including Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra – as well as academics and activists. Yingluck was later released.
Around 300 people have now been held for periods of up to a week, with those released threatened with prosecution if they continue their political activism.
On Thursday, the United States reiterated a call for a swift return to democratic rule, with State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki saying Washington would "use every political lever, economic lever where applicable to put the necessary pressure on".
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2014-05-30