Thailand′s Senate to be dissolved | News | DW | 24.05.2014
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Thailand's Senate to be dissolved

Thailand's ruling military says it is dissolving the Senate and assuming all lawmaking powers. The announcement was broadcast to the nation as high-ranking figures spent a second day in detention.

Thailand's coup leaders said on Saturday they were dissolving the Senate, one of the country's remaining democratic institutions following a military takeover.

The dissolution of the 150-parliamentarian Senate was announced by the National Peace and Order Maintaining Council (NPOMC) spokesman Colonel Winthai Suwaree on public television.

The move was seen as further strengthening the political powers of army chief and coup leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Prayuth is now Thailand's acting prime minister; however, it is unclear whether he will appoint a civilian premier, which happened under past coups.

The disbanding of the Senate ended speculation that the upper house might appoint the next prime minister.

The junta suspended the constitution and dissolved the lower house of parliament on Thursday.

Thailand's military said it took power to prevent more turmoil in the country, which has been destabilized by a prolonged political deadlock.

"Time to think"

Coup leaders also said on Saturday that former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Cabinet members, and anti-government protest leaders would be detained for up to a week to give them "time to think" and keep the country calm.

Deputy army spokesman Col. Weerachon Sukondhapatipak said that everyone in detention was being well-treated and that the aim of the military was to achieve a political compromise.

"This is in a bid for everybody who is involved in the conflict to calm down and have time to think," Weerachon said. "We don't intend to limit their freedom, but it is to relieve the pressure."

Military leaders also summoned 35 other people, including more politicians, political activists and, for the first time, outspoken academics, to "maintain peace and order."

It was unclear whether they would be detained.

lw/tj (AP, Reuters, dpa)

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