The head of Thailand's military government, General Sondhi Boonyaratglin, has announced his replacement as army chief on the one-year anniversary of the coup that brought the military to power.

The army chief said Wednesday that General Anupong Paochinda will take over from him when he retires October 1. Thailand's King Bhumibol approved the selection.

Anupong is described as more of a moderate and a professional than the post's other contender General Saprang Kalananamitra, who was instead appointed deputy permanent secretary for defense.

The new army chief was a key player in the 2006 coup and has served as assistant army commander in the ruling Council for National Security.

General Sondhi's plans are not known, but he has expressed an interest in entering politics.

Thailand is preparing to hold a general election on December 23.

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