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Thailand Coup Leaders Delay Return to Democracy Until 2016

BANGKOK — A Thai general election planned for next year will be delayed until 2016, pushing back the promised return to democracy. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who led a military coup in May, had previously hinted at a delay to polls promised for late 2015.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, who is also defense minister, said Thursday that elections will take place in 2016. "We are not asking for much," he said. "Just a year to resolve past problems." He cited groups opposed to the junta, or National Council for Peace and Order, as it is formally known, as one reason for the delay. The military scrapped the constitution shortly after it took power and has appointed a committee to draft a new one. Last week, the government said martial law, which the army imposed days before it took power, will not be lifted for the foreseeable future, despite an earlier pledge to lift the law in some provinces to help the tourism sector which has struggled since the coup.

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- Reuters