NCPO to give green light to local elections

NCPO to give green light to local elections

Local elections will be allowed again soon, according to Deputy Prime Minister Prawit, and a poll for a new Bangkok governor could be one of them. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Local elections will be allowed again soon, according to Deputy Prime Minister Prawit, and a poll for a new Bangkok governor could be one of them. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) will allow local government elections, but politicians running for office must observe certain conditions, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said on Monday.

Gen Prawit said the junta will soon unlock political activities starting with certain local polls that are needed.

All levels of elections and political activities have been banned since then-army chief Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha staged a military coup in May 2014, and later formed the NCPO to govern the country.

Gen Prawit on Monday said local politicians would have to avoid conflict and targeting the NCPO during campaigning once they are allowed to run for office.

Specifics of  the local elections were not unveiled, but they could include elections for a new Bangkok governor, and mayors of Pattaya and Khon Kaen.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration needs a new governor since Sukhumbhand Paribatra was axed by the NCPO in August under a Section 44 order, following complaints of alleged financial misconduct, including the 39.5-million-baht New Year light show.

The local administration of Pattaya has completed its tenure, but election of a new mayor is blocked by the  ban on political activity.

Khon Kaen municipal mayor Premsak Piayura was suspended at the same time as MR Sukhumbhand, also under Section 44, due to allegations of his becoming engaged to an underage girl and his ordering a reporter who asked questions to strip off his trousers.

Gen Prawit said allowing some local elections could be a first step towards the lifting of the ban on other political activities in the future.

The prime minister has promised a general election in November next year. Observers said local polls could be a warm-up for the Election Commission's preparations for a nationwide poll.



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