Thailand's interim Constitution drafted by the military junta after last week's coup against Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has given sweeping powers to the military despite a civilian government taking over next week.
In the translation of the 39-article draft carried by the local dailies, it grants complete immunity for all actions to seize power committed by the Council for Democratic Reform (CDR) which took control of the kingdom after the coup d'etat on September 19.
It empowers the chairman of the Council of National Security (CNS), which will replace CDR after the new prime minister is named, to appoint a Constitutional Drafting Council (CDC) chairman and deputy chairman.
CNS can also call a joint meeting with the 36-member Cabinet to resolve administrative problems while all its orders and announcements issued during the transition period would be given legal validations.
The chairman of CNS, likely to be headed by CDR head and Army Chief General Sondhi Boonyaratglin, also has the power to counter-sign the royal command for appointment of the assembly speaker and deputy speaker.
The interim Constitution retained the constitutional monarchy and the Kingdom of Thailand as the singular state.
Other key issues are the formation and duties of the National Legislative Assembly which will comprise 250 members appointed from professional groups, geographical areas and various sectors of the society.
Thailand's new general election is expected to be held in October 2007.