EC won't delay poll, promises Wissanu

EC won't delay poll, promises Wissanu

Palang Pracharath Party leader Uttama Savanayana, right, leads key party figures to officially apply for their party memberships on the first day of a recruitment drive for members at the party's office on Ratchadaphisek Road in Bangkok on Tuesday. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)
Palang Pracharath Party leader Uttama Savanayana, right, leads key party figures to officially apply for their party memberships on the first day of a recruitment drive for members at the party's office on Ratchadaphisek Road in Bangkok on Tuesday. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said on Tuesday there was no reason to delay the general election again and it will proceed as planned. It has tentatively been scheduled for Feb 24.

Reacting to fears the Election Commission (EC) could throw a spanner in the works as it has not finished redrawing constituency boundaries, he said the demarcation process would not jeopardise the election roadmap.

"The EC will set and announce the election date after discussing the matter with parties concerned. So far there is no reason [to postpone the polls] and there's no chance the EC will not be ready. If the elections are delayed, it will be because of others," he said.

Last week the government unveiled a new timeline. A longheld ban on parties engaging in political activities is expected to be lifted shortly after the law on the election of MPs is enacted on Dec 11.

While an election must be held within 150 days of that law taking effect -- meaning May 9 at the latest -- Feb 24 has been presented as the most appropriate date. A new parliament is expected to be inaugurated in May.

The deputy premier said the new timeline did not take into consideration whether or not the general election would be postponed.

He said the government saw the need to announce it to let all stakeholders know what to expect in the coming weeks and months.

Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva called on the EC and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) on Tuesday to work together to ensure all deadlines are met.

EC secretary-general Jarungvith Phumma said from the poll agency's perspective this would not be a problem.

He was speaking after meeting Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn Prousoontorn, the assistant national chief of police who is in charge of security and special affairs, to seek cooperation in stepping up security ahead of the planned elections.

Mr Jarungvith said about 95,000 polling units will be set up and some 1 million people will be mobilised to help the EC organise the polls.

Meanwhile, the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) began receiving applications from prospective members at its newly opened office on Tuesday.

Four cabinet ministers who have already joined the party said they will hold talks soon to decide when to step down.

PM's Office Minister Kobsak Pootrakool, one of the four, also now serves as the party's spokesman.

He said the group would likely quit the cabinet at the same time.


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