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Thailand's new Cabinet sworn in, ending rule by army junta

Thailand's new Cabinet has been sworn in, creating a nominally elected government after five years of military rule but keeping power in the hands of the same allies of the army.

Prayuth Chan-ocha, who as army commander seized power in a 2014 coup and then served as junta leader and prime minister, returns to serve again as prime minister. This time he was elected by a parliamentary vote after a March general election gave pro-military parties a majority.

The election was held according to laws enacted by Prayuth's junta aimed at disadvantaging established political parties. Critics say the vote was undemocratic and engineered to prolong rule by the military and its conservative allies.

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, ninth from left in front row, and his cabinet members pose for a group photo at the government house in Bangkok Tuesday, July 16, 2019. Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on Tuesday is leading his 36 cabinet members to take oath in front of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn. (AP PhotoSakchai Lalit)

A government spokeswoman said King Maha Vajiralongkorn presided over Tuesday's swearing-in of the 36-member Cabinet.

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha reacts after a group photo with his cabinet members at the government house in Bangkok Tuesday, July 16, 2019. Prayuth on Tuesday led his 36 cabinet members to take their oath in front Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn. (AP PhotoSakchai Lalit)

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha smiles after a group photo with his cabinet members at the government house in Bangkok Tuesday, July 16, 2019. Prayuth on Tuesday led his 36 cabinet members to take their oath in front of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn. (AP PhotoSakchai Lalit)

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha leaves from the government house in Bangkok Tuesday, July 16, 2019. Prayuth is preparing to lead his 36 cabinet members to take their oath in front of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn. (AP PhotoSakchai Lalit)

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrives for a group photo with his cabinet members at the government house in Bangkok Tuesday, July 16, 2019. Prayuth on Tuesday led his 36 cabinet members to take their oath in front of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn. (AP PhotoSakchai Lalit)