Almost two weeks after the national election, there is little sign that the Election Commission (EC) will officially endorse the poll results any time soon.
The perceived delay is causing public concerns about a power vacuum. Without an official endorsement, the Prayut Chan-o-cha cabinet has to maintain its role as the caretaker government.
Initially, the EC pledged to quicken the process, but questions are now being raised if that is really proving to be the case. The May 14 election is historic given the high voting turnout, with more than 75.2% of voters, or 39.2 million out of 52.2 million, taking part.
This will also be the last national election organised by the EC under the auspices of Ittiporn Boonpracong. The election law allows the EC to complete the task within 60 days of the election or by July 13, giving it more than sufficient time to examine any complaints about potential election fraud.
Should the EC rigidly follow the timeline, though there is a chance it will not, the formation of the next government will not take place until early August. Such a delay will affect the state administration, particularly the 2024 budget bill deliberations.
More importantly, the slow endorsement of the results of the polls creates a window for further political bargaining. Although the Move Forward Party (MFP) won the vote, many hurdles lie ahead that may shatter the party's dreams of forming a government.
Currently, the MFP and its seven coalition partners are struggling to gather 376 votes -- as required by the military-sponsored 2017 charter -- for MFP leader Pita Limjaroenrat's bid to become the 30th prime minister.
With its radical policies, like downsizing the army, its promise of 180-degree changes in national budget processing, and decentralisation, the MFP has found many enemies. Meanwhile, speculation is rife that its partners, particularly Pheu Thai, the runner-up in the May 14 election, could backtrack.
Despite signing a memorandum of understanding, there are some differences between the MFP and its major coalition partner on the contentious lese majeste law and the issue of granting a political amnesty. But it will be the contest for the position of House speaker -- despite the political norm that the position goes to the party that wins the most votes -- that will pose the first test for the two parties.
Needless to say, the EC has an obligation to speed up the endorsement of the poll so as not to allow any uncertainty to shroud politics and affect the country's administration. Quick approval by the EC could prevent untoward incidents that may result in the MFP stumbling before they even lead a new government.
If that is the case, the MFP's supporters may take the streets by storm, and the country may be plunged into chaos. Delays in the government's formation and political uncertainties adversely affect the economy, particularly when investors lose confidence and shift investments elsewhere.
This is unhealthy for the stock market, and the effect may spread to other sectors. There are many reasons why the EC must think about what is best for the country and speed up its work.