Thailand: Government admits election delay

  • The election date will likely be delayed from 24 Feb 18 to avoid having poll-related activities overlapping with those of the coronation ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said on 3 Jan 19.
  • In any case, the poll will be held no later than the 9 May 19 deadline as per constitutional rules which mandate that elections must be held within 150 days of the passing of the organic law governing the election of MPs, which took effect on 11 Dec 18. However, elections must be held on a Sunday. The last Sunday within the 150-day limit is 5 May 18.
  • His Majesty the King’s coronation is set for 4 May 19 to 6 May 19. After the coronation, there will also be activities organised by the government and the public to celebrate the occasion. These activities will also take about half a month, Mr Wissanu said.
  • Under the law on the election of MPs, the EC must endorse 95% of all 500 winning poll candidates or 475 within 60 days of an election, and parliament will convene its first meeting within 15 days of the poll results being announced.
  • In light of this, the EC will have only three potential alternative election dates to choose from — 10, 17 and 24 Mar 19, a source at the EC said.
  • Sources at major parties such as Pheu Thai, the Democrats and Palang Pracharath told the Bangkok Post that if the poll is delayed, plans for party election campaigns will be affected, particularly election expenses which are capped at THB1.5mn per constituency.
  • Parties have to plan their election spending at least 60 days ahead of the poll, and if the poll is rescheduled for March 24, they have to re-arrange their spending to cover the extended time, the sources said.

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