Bangkok, Sep 6: Thailand’s new Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, who seized power in a military coup over three months ago, has said he wants to lift martial law in the country but the current situation does not permit it. The National Council for Peace and Order, set up by the junta and headed by the Prime Minister, is unlikely to lift the martial law in the near future as groups have been found campaigning against the regime both in Thailand and abroad, the Nation newspaper reported.
60-year-old Gen Prayuth had asked NCPO secretary-general and Deputy Defence Minister Gen Udomdej Sitabutr to chair a meeting to review martial law but the junta did not discuss lifting martial law during its meeting yesterday. “I do not want to maintain martial law but restrictions will be eased gradually as the situation improves. I will tell you when. But we need to have measures for maintaining stability. Please wait for our signal,” the Premier said on his weekly TV programme yesterday.
The paper quoting sources said the army has detected underground groups campaigning against the NCPO in the country’s north and northeast.
Intelligence officials also reported to the meeting that opponent groups have revived their campaigns against the junta since the Cabinet was formed. Thailand’s army chief Gen Prayuth, seized power in a military coup and became the country’s prime minister, the first serving army officer to assume the top office in 22 years. Gen Prayuth was named as the prime minister after the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) voted 191-0 in his favour in an uncontested race.