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August 27, 2007
Govt sets Dec 23 for post-coup general election

Thailand's Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont announced Monday that a general election will be held Dec. 23 to restore democracy following last September's military coup.

Surayud made the announcement after consulting with Apichart Sukhakkhanond, chief of the Election Commission of Thailand, who he said had agreed with him on the schedule.

The announcement came after the country held a national referendum on Aug. 19 that endorsed a post-coup constitution, paving the way for the election and a restoration of democratic rule.

At a press conference held in the presence of the election commission chief, Surayud plegded to hold a free and fair general election on Dec. 23.

But he declined to say if the government will lift martial law, which remains in effect in 35 provinces, before the election. He said further consultations will be needed on the matter.

In the bloodless coup Sept. 19 last year, army Commander-in-Chief Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratglin ousted democratically elected Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra while the latter was in New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly.

Thaksin, who was twice elected in the 2001 and 2005 general elections, dissolved the House of Representatives in February 2006 because of massive protests over his family's decision to sell a telecommunication empire he founded to Singapore's state-owned investment arm Temasek. Kyodo news reports

Also see:
Thailand sets date for election

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