PM calls meeting to discuss election date

PM calls meeting to discuss election date

Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has called an urgent meeting to discuss the Election Commission's proposal that government postpone the election from Feb 2, PM's secretary-general Suranand Vejjajiva said on Monday.

The premier has instructed Deputy Prime Minister Pongthep Thepkanchana to coordinate the meeting to take place this Wednesday, Jan 15.

Mr Suranand said Ms Yingluck will preside over the meeting herself if all relevant parties agree to discuss the proposal to postpone the polls.

He said the government is calling the meeting because it sincerely wants all concerned with the issue to come together for talks.

The meeting should be regarded as another step toward solving the ongoing political conflict, Mr Suranand added.

Asked whether the meeting is likely to lead to the postponement of the Feb 2 election, Mr Suranand replied that every problem has a solution. "We have to explore all the possibilities," he added.

Representatives of all political parties, the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), seven business organisations, the Constitution Court, the Office of the Auditor General, the Office of the Attorney General, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Council of State will be invited to the Jan 15 meeting, he said.

The EC wrote to the prime minister on Sunday, calling for a royal decree to postpone the election from Feb 2 to another date, potentially May 4, arguing that holding the election as scheduled could spark further unrest.

Meanwhile, Thais living abroad in 67 countries have begun to cast advance votes ahead of the planned Feb 2 general election.  

Foreign Ministry spokesman Sek Wannamethee said the first day of advance voting for Thai expatriates went smoothly with no voters breaking the law or attempting to obstruct the electoral process. 

Reports from 92 Thai embassies and consulates show that 143,800 out of a total of 1.04 million Thais living overseas have registered for advance voting.

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