Thailand: Prayut sets poll date for 24 Feb 18

  • The general election has been tentatively set for 24 Feb 18, marking the latest poll pledge by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha after a series of delays.
  • Gen Prayut gave the same date the Election Commission had predicted, adding it would not occur any sooner.
  • He was speaking after a mobile cabinet meeting on 22 Aug 18 in southern province of Chumphon.
  • The government will “unlock” some issues and start talks with political parties in Sep 18, Gen Prayut said, without elaborating.
  • It is the first time the Prime Minister has given an exact date for the poll. However, he said previously that it would be held early in 2019 with some government sources reporting May 19 as a possible date.
  • Despite the lack of certainty so far, political parties maintain confidence that Prayut will keep his word this time.
  • Chusak Sirnil, head of Pheu Thai’s legal team, said it was a credible date.
  • As soon as the organic bill on the election of MPs receives royal approval and is enacted, everything should be ready for the poll to be held before May 19, Mr Chusak said.
  • The Bhumjaithai Party’s deputy secretary-general, Supachai Jaisamut, said Gen Prayut’s latest remark gave cause for hope that the election roadmap would be respected.
  • If the poll takes place in Feb 19 as now planned, it would be reasonable to ease the political restrictions on political parties by Sep 18, so they have enough time to prepare, Mr Supachai said.

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