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Thai junta defends sweeping powers under interim constitution; army chief could be PM

A new temporary constitution gives Thailand's military government sweeping powers in the run-up to a planned 2015 election, and a senior army official says the junta leader could serve as interim premier.

Thailand adopted the charter following the May 22 coup to allow an interim legislature and Cabinet to begin governing the country in tandem with the military.

The charter gives the junta almost supreme authority over politics, although Wissanu Krea-ngam, a legal adviser to the military, said Wednesday that the junta will handle only peacekeeping and security matters.

According to deputy army commander Gen. Paiboon Kumchaya, junta leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha could serve as interim premier under the new rules.

The coup overthrew an elected government following months of political conflict.