Thailand’s next election in exactly one year: deputy PM

An election to restore democracy to Thailand will take place a year from now, the government said yesterday, affirming for the first time widespread expectations that the vote the military had promised for this year will be postponed.

“One year from today, there’ll be elections,” Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam told reporters.

The military government that came to power in a 2014 coup had repeatedly said a general election would be held in 2017, even after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Oct. 13 raised doubts about the timing, given the mandatory one-year period of official mourning for the revered monarch.

Wissanu said the conclusion of the junta’s election timeline could not be clearly set down as a new constitution, a key part of the junta’s plan to restore democratic rule, is being amended.

The military-backed constitution was approved in a referendum last year.

It has been awaiting endorsement by King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who succeeded his father in December, but last month, the king’s office asked for several changes to clauses related to royal power in the draft, a rare intervention by a sitting Thai monarch.

Wissanu said that,on Tuesday, the government had nearly finished the revision and would submit the amended version for royal endorsement by Feb. 18.

The king has 90 days to approve it.

Political activity has largely ceased in Thailand to mark the period of mourning for the late King Bhumibol.

The party that formerly led the government was ousted in a 2014 coup, they were loyal to former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, who was himself ousted in a 2006 coup. They earlier said that they would not object to a slight delay in the election if it were for reasons related to the monarchy.

 

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