Thailand: PM hints further election delays possible

  • Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha says he is non-committal on whether the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) will step down from power after the Feb 19 general election.
  • While Gen Prayut said the NCPO will end its mission according to the roadmap, he did not specify when.
  • Asked if the NCPO’s mission will end in Feb 19 – a new tentative schedule for the general election which has been postponed from Nov 18 – Gen Prayut only said that this was “a legal matter”.
  • When pressed for clarification, Gen Prayit said he could not rush the law-making procedure as a joint meeting of concerned parties will need to be held to consider the organic bill on the election of MPs which cleared the National Legislative Assembly on 25 Jan 18.
  • Asked if the government’s popularity will be adversely affected if he will stay on in power longer than he has promised, the prime minister said he did not think this will have an impact. “Therefore, my promise remains unchanged… I will do my best and everything will proceed according to the roadmap. But some groups want the same old things to come back. So, make a choice between me or return to old things,” Gen Prayut said.
  • Meanwhile, national police chief Chakthip Chaijinda said 29 Jan 18 he has ordered a probe into the finances behind recent demonstrations held by anti-government elements such as the New Democracy Movement which is calling for an early election.

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