Thailand’s military junta leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha, who grabbed power in May, was named prime minister on Thursday by a legislature he hand-picked, Reuters reported.
Prayuth’s appointment paves the way for an interim government to be set up in the coming weeks, although power will remain firmly in the junta’s hands, according to the news agency. The 60-year-old general has said he plans to press ahead with a year of political reforms before calling for new election by late 2015.
“It is designed to give him the power to run the country according to the law. The premier position will give him legal power in the Thai governance system,” Gothom Arya, a lecturer in human rights studies at Mahidol University, told Reuters.
Prayuth will retire as army chief in September but will stay on as head of the junta, formally known as the National Council for Peace and Order. His appointment will need to be endorsed by Thailand’s king.
The army seized power on May 22 in a bloodless coup following six months of sometimes deadly street protests that contributed to the ousting of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, whose populist government was opposed by the Bangkok royalist establishment, the report said.
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