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Thai Cabinet meets king; doubt grows over power handover schedule

Published on Sep 4, 2014 8:48 PM
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha smiles after a photo session at Government House following an audience with King Bhumibol Adulyadej at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Thailand's new military-stacked cabinet met King Bhumibol Adulyadej in Bangkok on Thursday, marking the formal start of an administration that will spend at least a year overhauling the political system before calling an election.

The leader of a May 22 coup, army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha, who is now prime minister, has said he wants a year of reforms to culminate in a late 2015 election. But observers say there are signs a power transfer could be delayed.

"Prayuth has given himself several tasks to attend to while he is appointed prime minister," said Mr Paul Chambers, director of research at the Institute of South East Asian Affairs affiliated with Chiang Mai University.

"These could likely legitimise a reason for him to extend his term as prime minister and thus consolidate the power of his military faction and himself."

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