Thailand"s army-appointed parliament passed a law on Wednesday allowing political parties to resume activities banned since last year"s coup.
The lifting of the ban imposed after the ousting of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in September also allows the formation of new parties to contest promised elections.
This means Thaksin"s disbanded party could re-form under a new name.
“The National Legislative Assembly has agreed to amend announcement No. 15 by the coup leaders,” NLA president Meechai Ruchupan told the assembly after a 149-4 vote on the new law, which still needs royal approval.
The elections promised for December will be staged under a new constitution which is to be put to a referendum on Aug. 19.
Surviving members of Thaksin"s Thai Rak Thai party, dissolved for electoral fraud and 111 of its leaders, including Thaksin, banned from politics for five years, have said they would form a new party and campaign against the charter.
Thaksin lives in exile in London.
Critics say the draft constitution weakens the role of politicians and gives too much power to bureaucrats. They argue it also opens the door to army meddling in politics.
Aside from the possible revival of Thai Rak Thai, speculation is rife that coup leader General Sonthi Boonyaratglin might run in the election under the banner of a new party.
Sonthi, due to reach his mandatory retirement age of 60 in September, has said he will make a decision on his future after the referendum.
Despite the lifting of the ban on political activities, few human rights officials believe either the referendum or poll can be free or fair.
Thirty-five of Thailand"s 76 provinces remain under the martial law imposed after the bloodless coup, and police and soldiers have thrown up roadblocks in Bangkok and in Thaksin"s political stronghold in the north to stop anti-coup protests.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Temmuz 2007, 01:04