Election will be held no later than March: Thai deputy prime minister

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam. Screenshot: Youtube/ NBT WORLD
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam. Screenshot: Youtube/ NBT WORLD

Thailand’s political landscape remains tense this week as talks of election delays continue.

Just yesterday, however, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam told the media that the election would take place no later than the end of March.

Wissanu’s reassurance came after a meeting at the Government House to discuss preparations for the upcoming royal coronation of King Maha Vajiralongkorn (aka. Rama X), which have been scheduled for May 4-6.

“Let’s just say that the election date will be announced this month and the election will be held within March. ” he said, according to Bangkok Insight.

“The Election Commission (EC) will determine the date,” he said, adding that he believes the date could be announced by Jan 26.

Just last Friday, the deputy PM suggested that the post-coronation ceremony could conflict with the election, currently scheduled for Feb 24. Those comments led to two protests — first at Bangkok’s Victory Monument on Sunday and then again in Ratchapasong on Tuesday.

activists took to the Ratchapasong area in Bangkok’s downtown to protest any attempts to again delay the upcoming election. Photo: Teirra Kamolvattanavith/ Coconuts Media
activists took to the Ratchapasong area in Bangkok’s downtown to protest any attempts to again delay the upcoming election. Photo: Teirra Kamolvattanavith/ Coconuts Media

The diverse and lively crowd that attended the rally served to illustrate the ongoing frustration within the kingdom over the election delays. Dates for the long-promised vote have been set, then delayed, no fewer than five times at this point.

Though Wissanu refused to definitively say yesterday whether or not the currently scheduled date of Feb 24 would be again postponed, many believe it to be likely.

A member of the EC told Bangkok Post that it would need at least 45 days to prepare for the election, which means the required royal decree announcing the poll date should have been issued yesterday if the election were still taking place on Feb 24.

Given the 45-day period and taking in account that polls are typically held on Sunday, the next possible dates for the election would be March 3, 10, 17 or 24.

“For five months, the government said Feb 24 and all sides have worked to make it happen and accommodate it,” said Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, a former EC commissioner.

“The fact that the decree could not be published on schedule [by Jan 3] and the government’s inability to say when it would be reflects on the capability of this government,” he said.  

Pro-election protestors using the “Hunger Games” salute. Photo: Teirra Kamolvattanavith/ Coconuts Media
Pro-election protestors using the “Hunger Games” salute. Photo: Teirra Kamolvattanavith/ Coconuts Media
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