The Election Commission (EC) expects to spend about 5 billion baht on the coming general election, the exact timeline of which cannot yet be drawn up, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said on Wednesday.
An exact election timeline, he said, can be drawn up only when one of three scenarios has occurred — the House of Representatives is dissolved before the end of the parliamentary session on Feb 28; when the House is dissolved after the end of the parliamentary session; the House continues to exist until it completes its full four-year term on March 23.
The EC has tentatively set the election date for May 7 under the third scenario, said Mr Wissanu, the government’s expert on legal affairs.
The government will invite the EC for consultation only when one of the three scenarios has occurred, he told reporters.
As for the 5-billion-baht budget for the election, the EC has some funds left over from previous years and will seek an additional amount from the government, he said.
Most political parties are already in full campaign mode, and this has been affecting the ability of the House of Representatives to get its work done. In recent weeks there have been frequent collapses of House meetings due to the lack of a quorum, the latest on Wednesday.
Mr Wissanu said the collapses were both intentional and unintentional. Regardless, the House still has many legislative drafts to deliberate, including the contentious draft bill on cannabis and hemp and another on same-sex unions.
To cope with this problem, House Speaker Chuan Leekpai had set aside Wednesdays for the House to deliberate bills that have been vetted by scrutiny committees and Thursdays for deliberation of legislative drafts in the first reading, one of them the Chulabhorn Royal Academy Bill, he said.