The ruling junta, having promised polls for February next year, is now allowing new and old parties to register their members, with a minimum of 500 needed to sign up in 30 days to qualify
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and his junta government, formally known as the National Council for Peace and Order, took power after the bloodless coup on March 22, 2014, that they said was to end six months of political deadlock aimed at removing the government of former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Elections originally slated for 2015 have been pushed back to 2016, while junta-picked representatives draft a new constitution. Martial law was abolished 10 months after the coup, but has been replaced with rule under Article 44 of the junta's interim constitution. It grants sweeping powers that have been decried by domestic critics and the United Nations as even more authoritarian.