EC: Election likely on Feb 24
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EC: Election likely on Feb 24

The general election will likely be held on Feb 24 next year, according to the roadmap set by the Election Commission (EC).

Natt Laosisavakul, deputy secretary general of the EC, presented in Pattaya the draft plan on the senator and the MP elections on Saturday.

Under the constitution, the senator election will have to be completed at least 15 days before the MP poll. The election will be for 200 senator candidates, to be shortlisted by the junta to 50.

“If the senator bill is published in the Royal Gazette on Sept 13, it will take effect the next day,” he said.

Currently, both the senator and MP bills are being reviewed by His Majesty the King, who has 90 days to endorse them, or until mid-September.

Once the senator law comes into effect on Sept 14, the EC will find printers in November and ballots will be printed in December. Regulations on the application of senator candidates will also be out in the same month, he said.

The EC and the cabinet will then set the time and dates for the senator election and issue a royal decree governing it. The senator election will take three days for district, province and national levels and will be held simultaneously nationwide.

He did not spell out the dates of the senator election but said the results should be announced on Jan 22.

After that, the election for 350 MPs will be held.

The EC expects the royal decree setting the date for the MP election to be issued on Jan 4 and the poll taking place on Feb 24.

Ballots will be printed in January and February. The first lot will be sent abroad for elections outside the kingdom. The tickets will be sent to the district election offices in February.

Mr Natt also said the EC was asked by the NCPO to define constituencies in advance within 60 days so that primary votes can take place in the next 30 days.

“All our provincial offices already set the constituencies tentatively based on the 2016 census. Now that the 2017 census was released by the Interior Ministry, they will be asked to revise their plans to match the new data,” Mr Nutt said.

Under the constitution, the 250 senators will come from two sources. The EC will hold an election for professional groups to select  200 candidates among themselves and the NCPO would shortlist them to 50.

The other source is an NCPO-appointed screening panel, which will choose another 400 senator candidates, to be shortlisted by the NCPO to 194. The remaining six come by position: chiefs of the Defence Ministry, the four armed forces and the police.

The senators will serve a five-year term, a year longer than the government.

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