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September 1, 2007
Thai coup Leader might extend tenure

Thailand's Army Chief Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratkalin intensified speculation about the possibility that
his term could be extended for another six months, though saying it was not his decision.

"If there is anyone who is thinking about extending retirement, it's not me. I will not do that for myself.
But I do not know what other people think or will do," Sonthi, who was also last year's coup maker, was
quoted by the Bangkok Post on Saturday as saying.

Speculation that Sonthi's term would be extended has run high due to two factors -- the current political
situation and an internal rift in the army, said the report. As for the political situation, the old power clique
stood a chance of winning the general election and returning to power, an army source said under the
Bangkok Post's new column "Army Politics".

The extension would allow Sonthi, who should retire in September, to stay on in power until a new
government was formed. A new army chief would then be named in the mid-year reshuffle in April next year.

"Under the circumstances, it is advised that we should not change horses in mid-stream," said the source. Xinhua reports

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