No elections will take place in Thailand for the next one year, head of the country’s military regime has said.
He also promised that soldiers would head back to their barracks once the country’s unresolved political issues have been addressed.
“The (ruling military regime) have a timeframe of one year and three months to move towards elections,” said army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha in a televised national address on Friday, a week after the army took power.
“Give us time to solve the problems for you. Then the soldiers will step back to look at Thailand from afar,” he said.
According to him, a first phase of around three months would focus on “reconciliation” in the ferociously divided nation, with a cabinet and new draft constitution put in place to enact reforms during a second year-long phase. Only after this could elections be held.
He noted that during this time, the regime would not tolerate protests.
Thailand’s military seized power on May 22 and set about rounding up scores of political figures, academics and activists.
Authorities have scrapped the constitution, curtailed civil liberties under martial law and imposed a nightly curfew.
Around 300 people have now been held for periods of up to a week, with those released threatened with prosecution if they continue political activism.