PM Prayut now promises election no later than February

PM Prayut now promises election no later than February

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha (centre) arrives for a weekly cabinet meeting at the Government House in Bangkok on Tuesday. (EPA photo)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha (centre) arrives for a weekly cabinet meeting at the Government House in Bangkok on Tuesday. (EPA photo)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has said the general election will be held no later than February next year.

The deadline came as no surprise as the prime minister simply confirmed the 90-day delay made possible by the National Legislative Assembly’s vote on Jan 25 to put off the effective date of the MP election bill.

His comment sent the stock market soaring 18.07 points to 1,852.51 in the afternoon trade before sliding to close down 3.79 points at 1,830.39  from the previous day in active trade of 103.7 billion baht.     

Gen Prayut repeated the roadmap based on the constitution and National Council for Peace and Order orders on Tuesday. 

“New parties can start registering on March 1 [Thursday]. They lack the readiness so we should give them some leeway,” he said.

The new parties may then hold meetings, but only on essential issues such as setting party regulations. “Apart from that, any activity will need to be approved case-by-case in advance by the NCPO,” he continued.

Existing parties may start checking their party members a month later, or on April 1, but they may not hold meetings.

After the organic laws on MPs and senators are passed by March, they will be submitted for royal endorsement and should come into effect by June, after which the 150-day countdown to the election begins.

“Once the laws come into force, a meeting will be held between the Five Rivers and political parties to set the date of the polls, but it must be no later than February,” Gen Prayut said, referring to the five bodies set up by the coupmakers to govern -- the NCPO, cabinet, NLA, constitution writers and now-defunct National Reform Steering Assembly.  

“Did I make myself clear? The polls will happen no later than February 2019. The exact date will be within those 150 days. But during this period, the situation will be taken into consideration.

“I meant no threat. But if everybody comes out, what will happen once the political ban is lifted?

“And don’t worry there would be a vacuum. If new election commissioners cannot be selected, the existing ones will do the job,” he assured.

The prime minister was referring to the concern the election would be further delayed after the NLA rejected all seven EC commissioner candidates nominated by the court and other bodies.


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