BANGKOK — The Thai military junta further consolidated its power tonight by dissolving the Senate and transferring top officials allied to the previous government to inactive posts.
The announcement was made in a statement released by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) this evening.
The NCPO provided no reasons for dissolving of the Senate, whose members are half-elected and half-appointed by the Courts and other independent agencies allied with the establishment. This Senate was largely controlled by its appointed members, who were considered to be sympathetic to the anti-government protest movement's cause.
The announcement effectively voided the last remaining legislative body in Thailand, granting the coup leaders all law-making powers. The House of Parliament and the Cabinet were dissovled by the NCPO when it seized power.
General Prayuth Chan-ocha, who declared a coup d'etat on 22 May, is now the acting prime minister. There has been no word on whether he will appoint a civilian premier, as was the case under past coups.
The NCPO also announced tonight that it would be transferring three officials to “assistant” duties at the Office of Prime Minister, which are understood to be inactive posts.
The three transferred officials include chief of the Division of Special Investigation (DSI) Tharit Pengdith, Royal Thai Police chief Adul Saengsingkaew, and Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Nipat Thonglek.
All three men have been close allies to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the influential former Prime Minister who was ousted in the 2006 military coup, but remained the de facto leader of the former government while living in self-imposed exile abroad.
Since seizing power, the NCPO has summoned hundreds of politicans, activists, and academics. Many of those summoned, including former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, have been detained in undisclosed locations.
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