House dissolved
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House dissolved

Election date to be announced on Friday

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha greets reporters at Government House on Monday. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha greets reporters at Government House on Monday. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)

The House of Representatives has been dissolved to pave the way for a general election, with the Election Commission (EC) expected to announce the election date on Friday.

A royal decree announcing the dissolution was published in the Royal Gazette. It was countersigned by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and came into effect immediately.

The Election Commission (EC) will organise the polls within 45-60 days, and the government led by Gen Prayut will now assume a caretaker role.

Gen Prayut on Monday thanked the lawmakers in parliament for working with him over the past four years.

"I thank you all, particularly the House, for working together over the past four years. Sometimes we succeeded, but other times we did not. But I still have to thank you because all of you work for the country's best interests.

"I also want to emphasise that I am not in conflict with anyone," Gen Prayut said.

Asked whether he was satisfied with the government's performance during the past four years, Gen Prayut said, "I can't give you an answer. You must ask the people whether they are satisfied [with the government's performance] or not."

Quizzed on what he was most proud of during his time as prime minister, Gen Prayut said he was thankful for the collaboration of all coalition parties.

"Several [projects] started out as policy proposals from different parties. We have had to work together and reach resolutions," Gen Prayut said.

"I am also happy that at least I have initiated projects that will provide the country with a steady income, such as the Eastern Economic Corridor."

Asked what he has learned from politics so far, Gen Prayut said, "It is undeniable that I am now also a politician."

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, who oversees the government's legal affairs, said that the EC is expected to announce the election date on Friday.

The EC's announcement will also include the dates for MP candidacy applications, Mr Wissanu said, adding that the election must be held within 45-60 days.

The EC is expected to accept MP candidacy applications from April 3-7, and the election is likely to be held on May 14, Mr Wissanu said.

EC secretary-general Sawaeng Boonmee said he discussed with Mr Wissanu what the caretaker ministers can and cannot do under Section 169 of the 2017 constitution, particularly with regards to them going out on the campaign trail ahead of the general election.

According to Section 169, a caretaker cabinet minister is prohibited from utilising state resources and personnel for their own advantage.

Mr Sawaeng said the election commissioners will meet today to discuss the election date.

When asked whether the election is likely to be called on May 7 or May 14, Mr Sawaeng said the polls could be held on any date, as long as it is held within 45-60 days of the House dissolution. What's sure, he added, the vote would be held on a holiday.

Asked whether petitions filed by political parties that disagreed with the EC's redrawn constituency map would delay the election, Mr Sawaeng said he would rather not speculate on this matter.

If there were to be an emergency hearing, the EC would have to wait for the Administrative Court's ruling, but the time frame stipulated by the constitution must be followed, he said.

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