BANGKOK – Thailand’s JunTa Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has reaffirmed that the much-awaited election would be delayed again but “will definitely” be held this time on or before May 9 but gave no indication when exactly it will take place.
It is the fifth time the military junta, which took over in a bloodless coup in 2014, has delayed elections and prevented the country’s return to democracy.
Following mounting pressure, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday: “I’ve always said that the election will follow some conditions.”
While stressing that under the Constitution, May 9 is the deadline for the election to be held,
Gen Prayut said before the election, his government needs to start making preparation for the Royal Coronation.
He also called on the people not to “get bored” with him as his administration will have to be around for a little while. Gen Prayut has broken his election promises several times, many no longer trust his words.
In his address this morning on the occasion of the Teacher’s Day, the prime minister said the
country was advancing toward full democracy with the election to be held definitely by May 9th, 2019.
Under the Constitution, a general election must be held within 150 days after the law on
MPs election was promulgated in December last year. The tentative date of February 24 originally set for the election is no longer legally possible given the fact that the Royal decree for the poll failed to be announced last week as widely expected.
Despite mounting pressure, the Election Commission has been insisting that it cannot possibly
announce an election date without the Royal decree. A group of activists campaigning for an early election have threatened to stage a protest rally this Saturday unless the commission comes up with an election date.
Army Commander-in-Chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong on Tuesday warned the activists
“not to cross the line.”
Prime Minister Prayut also pleaded with members of the public for help in maintaining peace
and order during the lead-up and the coronation. He said the election and the coronation ceremony are two separate issues and , therefore, should not be mixed together.
He said that democratic rule for Thailand is inevitable but free expressions must not be exercised in a way which would cause public disturbances.
He insisted that he does not want the country to plunge back into chaos.