Thailand: Prayut’s new poll vow met with scorn

  • Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has announced the general election will be held no later than Feb 19, but parties have poured scorn on his latest promise after the premier said late 2017 the poll would take place in Nov 18.
  • Gen Prayut explained on 27 Feb 18 the new deadline was due to a 90-day extension of the enforcement of an organic bill on the election of MPs that is a prerequisite to holding the national election.
  • The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) voted on 25 Jan 18 to extend enforcement of the bill by this length of time. But politicians from key parties were not convinced by the premier’s remarks.
  • Deputy Democrat Party leader Nipit Intarasombat told the Bangkok Post he has stopped believing in Gen Prayut’s election pledges.
  • Chaturon Chaisaeng, a key figure in the Pheu Thai Party, echoed similar sentiments. He said Gen Prayut has lost all of his credibility after promising election dates and then failing to honour those commitments. He said the regime was attempting to shore up its power so it can remain at the helm after the election.
  • But there is no guarantee a new military-backed political party, if created, would be sufficiently competent to run a country, Mr Chaturon said. As such, the regime is playing for time to undermine existing parties and pressure them into supporting it while it tries to forge a new part on its own, he said.
  • Kalin Sarasin, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said a Feb 19 election would not negatively impact trade or investment.
  • Gen Prayut has given at least three different election dates so far, only to push them back citing concern over changes to the constitution and security issues.

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