Thailand deputy PM Prawit says junta 'won't stay for too long'

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha (right) and Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan don glasses before Prayuth reads out his government's policy, at the Parliament in Bangkok on Sept 12, 2014. Thailand's deputy pr
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha (right) and Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan don glasses before Prayuth reads out his government's policy, at the Parliament in Bangkok on Sept 12, 2014. Thailand's deputy prime minister and defence minister Prawit Wongsuwan insisted on Friday the junta is not power-hungry as some groups urged the military government to hold the general election next year as promised, The Nation newspaper reported. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK - Thailand's deputy prime minister and defence minister Prawit Wongsuwan insisted on Friday the junta is not power-hungry as some groups urged the military government to hold the general election next year as promised, The Nation newspaper reported.

Prawit had told reporters on Thursday the election would be postponed until 2016, citing opposition to the junta - or National Council for Peace and Order as it is formally known - as one reason for the delay. Last week, the government said martial law - which the army imposed days before it took power - would not be lifted for the foreseeable future.

On Friday, Prawit defended the delay in the return to democracy. He was quoted as sying by The Nation. "I don't feel any pressure (on the call by the groups). One year is our roadmap period. We don't want to stay for so long. We just want to unite people in the country."

The military launched a coup in May which ousted former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, saying it was necessary to avoid further bloodshed after months of sometimes violent protests.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who led the coup, had outlined a year of reforms that are partly aimed at ending the political influence of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck's brother.