Thai junta to allow parties to get ready for election


BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Tuesday he would use a special order that gives the military sweeping powers to allow political parties to prepare for a 2018 general election.

Major political parties had urged the government for months to lift a ban on all political activity to allow parties to prepare for the vote.
"The government will have to use Article 44 to solve this problem (political activity deadlock)," Prayuth told reporters, referring to a constitutional clause that grants the military absolute powers.
Government spokesperson Sansern Kaewkamnerd said Prayuth would allow parties to take some steps outlined in the new constitution, including ensuring they have at least 500 members to qualify them to run in the November 2018 poll.
(Corrects to clarify that PM's order will allow parties to prepare for elections, not lift a ban on politics)

(Reporting by Aukkarapong Niyomyat; Writing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Nick Macfie)