Thai Military Leader Says Elections to Be Held in 2018

Thai Military Leader Says Elections to Be Held in 2018

Thai Military Leader Says Elections to Be Held in 2018

Thai Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha on Tuesday announced that general elections would be held in November 2018, more than four years after the army launched a coup in 2014.

"We will have an election in November", the premier told reporters at Government House, adding that he will announce the exact date for the nationwide election by June, 2018.

As for lifting the ban on political activities, Prayut said he is considering accordingly.

Yingluck was convicted by Thailand's supreme court late last month on charges of negligence in connection with a botched rice buying program and sentenced in absentia to five years in prison. The junta has lately remained tight-lipped on spelling out a clear election timetable, citing several factors, including complicated charter drafting and amendments, the enactment of complicated organic laws and the late King's funeral, all of which it said had contributed to changes in the planned date.

The military took power in a coup in May 2014 and ousted elected Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra following months of citizens occupying the streets and demanding her government step down.

"Around June we will announce the date for the next election", he said.

The military claimed the new charter, Thailand's 20th, will purge Thailand of corrupt civilian politicians and restore stability after almost a decade of political turmoil including two coups.

Although the government said that law was fair, the politician said he did not think the government was being reasonable. The prime minister's latest announcement was to ensure the schedule corresponds with what he said while on his visit to the US, Mr Chaturon said.

Gen Prayut may come up with any reason to defer the election again in the future, Mr Chaturon said.

He said political parties would still have time, either 90 or 180 days as stipulated under the new political party law, to prepare for the coming general election - a period he considered long enough. The NCPO should consider easing political restrictions to at least allow parties to hold meetings to select party executives, he said.

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