Interior Ministry hints at local polls

Interior Ministry hints at local polls

Minister says all sides can prepare

At least one type of local election is expected some time before the end of this year, according to Deputy Interior Minister Niphon Bunyamanee.

However, he admitted that no formal discussions about the expected poll had taken place so far.

"There must be at least one type of local election this year," he said, when asked before he attended yesterday's cabinet meeting.

The ministry will have to first discuss with the Election Commission (EC) about the organisation of new local elections and then the EC will decide again when local elections will actually be held, he said.

"We haven't discussed about that just yet while we are still waiting for the rearrangement of election constituencies to be published in the Royal Gazette," he said.

He said all sides concerned may now begin preparing for new local elections.

There are four types of local election -- provincial administration organisations (PAOs); tambon administration organisations (TAOs); municipalities of three levels; and special administrative areas -- the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and Pattaya City.

Mr Niphon said after the new constituencies are clearly defined, candidates could decide where to run. The redrawing of some electoral boundaries was already finished.

Asked about a local election timeline of Dec 13 floated by the Move Forward Party, Mr Niphon said December is possible but the exact date still needs to be formally discussed and decided on.

Progressive Movement co-founder Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, meanwhile, said his group is determined to field candidates in about all 4,000 local elections to come; but it now has only 17 candidates to run in future elections of presidents of provincial administration organisations in 17 provinces.

The group therefore plans today to begin recruiting candidates for all new local elections via the group's website, he said.

The group is looking for new faces with a determination to shape and change the landscape of local administration and boost development, he said.

Mr Piyabutr was addressing a gathering of his group's supporters in Chiang Rai yesterday.

Mr Piyabutr also revealed the group's intention to establish what he described as "Common Schools", which he described as education institutions for "social change".

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