Thailand: Law makes PM’s return bid trickier

  • Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha cannot canvass for votes if he wants to stage a comeback as a prime ministerial candidate on the ticket of any party, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said.
  • Mr Wissanu said 11 Nov that if any party names Gen Prayut as one of its three prime ministerial candidates for the next general election, the law bars him from taking part in any campaigning or canvassing for that party while serving as prime minister.
  • Asked if the tentative 24 Feb poll date will be pushed back further if several parties insist they will not be ready, Mr Wissanu said that the authority to set an election date rests with the Election Commission (EC), not the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).
  • Politicians have complained they will only have about 60 days to campaign if the ban on political activities is lifted, as expected, late in Dec 18.
  • Jatuporn Prompan, a core leader of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), said he suspects the regime will delay the election from Feb 24 to May next year. “This is because there are more than 30 newly-established parties still awaiting endorsement from the EC, and it is unlikely that this can be done before the 24 Feb poll date,” Mr Jatuporn said.
  • Responding to Mr Jatuporn’s remarks, EC secretary-general Jarungvith Phumma gave his assurances that the organisation is prepared to hold the election on 24 Feb.

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