The Cabinet has extended the emergency decree in force in most parts of Thailand’s Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat provinces for only one month, until October 18.
Throughout the almost two decades since the decree was introduced, to deal with unrest in the south, it has been extended by three months on each occasion.
The decree affects the three southern provinces, with the exceptions of the four districts of Yaring, Mayo, Mai Kaen and Mae Lan in Pattani, four districts of Si Sakhon, Sungai Kolok, Waeng and Sukhirin in Narathiwat and the two districts of Betong and Kabang in Yala.
Another surprising decision by the Cabinet on Monday was to appoint Deputy Prime Minister Somsak Thepsuthin as chair of the Emergency Situation Administration Committee.
Though Somsak is a veteran politician, he has never been involved in the southern crisis, let alone security issues.
The previous chair of the committee was Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan.
Doubts have been expressed over Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s polices concerning the violence in the south. The situation there was not mentioned in the policy statement delivered to parliament last week.