Chief of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Prayuth Chan-ocha (C) attends the budget meeting with government agencies in Bangkok, Thailand, June 13, 2014. [Photo: Xinhua/Rachen Sageamsak]
Thailand's military junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha said Friday that an interim government will be formed in September at the latest.
While chairing a budget meeting, the chief of the military-run National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) said that a government will be set up by August, or September at the very latest.
A temporary constitution will be drafted within three months, Prayuth said, adding it will take at least one year before a new general election can be held.
At the meeting concerning the 2015 national budget, the NCPO chief indicated the rice-pledging scheme, the flagship "populist policy" of the ousted Yingluck government, will not be continued, at least not for now.
He promised to focus on issues such as reducing farmers' costs, establishing seed and fertilizer banks, and promoting farm cooperatives.
A similar rice subsidy program could be revived in the future only if it is designed to benefit only rice growers, Prayuth said.
The Yingluck government started buying rice from farmers at above-market prices in 2011 to shore up rural incomes, fulfilling a campaign pledge by the Pheu Thai Party, which won a parliamentary majority that year. Critics have accused the scheme of breeding corruption and incurring great losses.
The junta started to repay farmers indebted under the scheme soon after the May 22 coup, and by late June, more than 800,000 farmers are expected to receive some 92 billion baht (around 2.88 billion U.S. dollars).
Populist schemes will proceed temporarily only to alleviate people's hardships, Prayuth said.