EC seeks B1.2bn for local polls

EC seeks B1.2bn for local polls

The Election Commission wants of budget of 1.2 billion baht to finance local government elections -- but when they will be held is still a mystery. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)
The Election Commission wants of budget of 1.2 billion baht to finance local government elections -- but when they will be held is still a mystery. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

The Election Commission has requested a budget of 1.2 billion baht to finance local government elections, even though it is unclear when they will be held.

EC chairman Ittiporn Boonpracong said on Monday the commission is seeking between 1.1 billion and 1.2 billion baht for the polls. The cabinet will decide how much will be allocated. 

Mr Ittiporn expressed confidence the government will approve enough funding for local elections.

However, the government has so far not given any indication when they will be held, so the EC has not set a timeframe for them.

Local government elections, suspended during the previous military government, were initially expected to be held toward the end of this year. They are now likely to be further delayed.

The EC is still drafting five local poll regulations and has calculated the expenses and designated staff for poll watch duties. 

Mr Ittiporn said a core regulation relating to poll procedures will be finished in about a week. Scrutiny of the other regulations will be done in a timely manner, he added.  

Deputy Interior Minister Niphon Bunyamanee said the government has not discussed a timeline for local elections and the ministry, which is responsible for the groundwork, has not marked any dates on its calendar. 

He believed the timing would be made clear after the 2020 fiscal budget comes into effect next year. 

If the delayed budget bill reaches parliament in October and passes without a hitch, it is likely to kick in sometime in January, according to the deputy minister.

He could not say whether local elections will be held before the year is out.


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