[JURIST] Thailand's National Legislative Assembly (NLA) [member list] on Thursday approved the lifting of a ban on public gatherings of more than five people, according to Assembly President Meechai Ruchapan [JURIST report]. The Council for National Security [official website, in Thai], formerly the Council for Democratic Reform, announced the ban on public gatherings one day after the Thai military led a bloodless coup [JURIST report], taking government control from former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [JURIST news archive]. NLA members were hand-selected by the military regime and approved by Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej [profile]. Generals and other officers from Thailand's army, navy and air force have assumed 35 seats, while the remaining members are comprised of religious leaders, bankers, media representatives and anti-Thaksin leaders. The assembly is responsible for writing the country's new permanent constitution, which will be subject to a referendum and then voted on in the general election next year.
The NLA did not consider ending martial law, which has been in effect since the September 19 coup. Thai Defense Minister Boonrawd Somtas, however, said earlier Thursday that Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont [official website; BBC profile] will probably lift martial law next week [JURIST report]. AP has more. The Bangkok Post has local coverage.