Election likely delayed till 2019

Election likely delayed till 2019

The National Legislative Assembly debates the MP election bill before voting 196-12 to pass it on Thursday. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
The National Legislative Assembly debates the MP election bill before voting 196-12 to pass it on Thursday. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

The general election is likely to be held by February next year at the latest as the organic bill on the election of MPs which cleared the National Legislative Assembly Thursday extends the deadline for holding the poll by another 90 days.

NLA members voted 196 to 12 to pass the draft organic bill with 14 abstentions. The NLA met the entire day on Thursday to debate the second and third readings of the controversial organic bill. At the meeting some NLA members even proposed a delay in the law's enforcement for five years.

The 90-day extension was proposed by an NLA panel which vetted the bill. The majority of the NLA panel last Friday voted for it to take effect only 90 days after it was passed and published in the Royal Gazette, instead of immediately.

According to the constitution, an election must be held within 150 days of the four election-related laws being promulgated. It was tentatively scheduled by Gen Prayut for this November.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam insisted the government had nothing to do with the proposal to suspend the bill's enforcement, despite claims by critics it is designed to help the government prolong its stay in power.

He also denied rumours the planned election might be even postponed for another one or two years. This would be possible only if the constitution was rewritten to accommodate such a long delay, he said.

While he said he could not guarantee a precise election date, Mr Wissanu did not rule out the possibility that the general election would be pushed back for another one or two months from the tentative November schedule.

Mr Wissanu said that when the NLA finishes deliberation of the organic bill on MP elections, a joint committee comprising the Election Commission (EC), the Constitution Drafting Committee and the NLA will fine-tune the bill before submission for royal endorsement in March.

A 90-day period is needed for royal endorsement. If the bill is royally endorsed and becomes law in June, the National Council for Peace and Order will invite parties, the Election Commission and various agencies to discuss the election date.

If the NLA endorses the proposal for the 90-day suspension of the bill, this means the bill will be enacted in September and the election will be held within 150 days of the bill being promulgated or in February next year, Mr Wissanu said. He added the poll may take place sooner, but it could not be held later than this.

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Vocabulary

  • abstention (noun): an act of choosing not to use a vote either in favour of or against something - การงดออกเสียง
  • constitution: the set of laws and basic principles that a country in governed by - รัฐธรรมนูญ
  • controversial: causing disagreement or disapproval - ความไม่ลงรอยกัน
  • deliberation: considering or discussing something - การปรึกษาหารือ
  • endorsement: official approval - การรับรอง การลงนามในเอกสาร
  • enforcement: the process of making sure that something happens, especially that people obey a law or rule - การบังคับใช้กฎหมาย
  • majority: more than 50 percent of a group - เสียงส่วนใหญ่
  • organic laws (noun): basic laws for governing a country, in this case, laws required by the constitution. - กฎหมายประกอบรัฐธรรมนูญ, กฎหมายหลัก, กฎหมายลูก
  • postpone: to delay; to decide that something will be done at a later time - เลื่อนออกไป
  • precise: exact and accurate - แน่นอน, ถูกต้อง, เที่ยงตรง
  • prolong: to cause to continue for a long time - ยืดเวลาออกไป
  • promulgate: to announce a new law or system officially or publicly - ประกาศใช้
  • suspension: stopping for a period of time - การยกเลิกชั่วคราว, การระงับชั่วคราว
  • tentatively: not definite, or not certain - ที่ยังไม่แน่นอน
  • vetting: examining something or someone carefully to make certain that they are acceptable or suitable - ตรวจสอบ
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