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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Thai Military May Retain Power

BANGKOK, Thailand -- Thailand's military rulers said Tuesday that they wrote a temporary constitution appointing themselves advisers to any interim government, and hinted they might replace ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra with a former military man.

The comments by coup leader General Sondhi Boonyaratkalin gave the first indication that military rulers who seized power a week ago did not plan to withdraw entirely from the political process -- a prospect that critics condemned as another blow to democracy.

In an apparent public relations gaffe, the ruling military council late Tuesday named dozens of prominent civilians to serve as its advisors -- though at least some said they had not been approached to serve in the positions.

"I have not been consulted whatsoever. I have said that the coup is wrong, how can I serve on its advisory board?" said Chaiwat Satha-anand, who teaches political science at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University. The military's televised announcement, officially termed an "order," had said he was appointed to be an adviser on a panel for reconciliation.

Thailand's central bank Governor, Pridiyathorn Devakula, was named to head the economic advisory committee. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

Asked why some appointees had not been contacted, ruling military spokesman Lieutenant General Palangoon Klaharn said, "It is not necessary. Some matters are urgent."

Coup leader Sondhi earlier told reporters that the draft constitution would be reviewed by academics and submitted to Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej for a royal endorsement by Sunday, at which point a new leader would be named.

The ruling military council hopes to install a new civilian prime minister "as soon as possible," but is still narrowing down its candidates for the job, Sondhi said.