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Thai Military Names Panel to Open Constitution Process

Thailand's military has named a committee to begin the process of writing a new constitution, following a military coup last month.

Officials said Thursday the 17-member panel will be led by Air Force Chief Chalit Phukphasuk.

The committee is to select 2,000 people for a National Assembly, from which 100 people will be selected to draft the new charter.

Leaders of the military coup have pledged to return the country to civilian rule in one year and hold new elections in October of next year.

Interim Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont Thursday reaffirmed plans for the army-led government to finish its work in one year. He said he does not want to "bear the burden" assigned by military leaders longer than necessary.

Earlier, a member of the interim cabinet, Thirapat Serirangsan, said the transition process may take as many as 17 months.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.