Thailand’s election law governing its lower house of parliament is set to take effect on Tuesday, paving the way for a long-awaited election to be held, likely next February. In what is expected to be a heated campaign, much attention will focus on the extent of power the military will hold following the vote. As the countdown starts, the focus now is on what Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s plans are regarding his own position and that of other parties. Since the military ousted former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in 2014, the junta government has delayed an election several times, holding back the return of democracy.
In September, King Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun endorsed the last two bills that were required for a general election to take place, with the law coming into effect 90 days later, on Dec. 11. Once that law takes effect, the junta government must hold an election within 150 days.
The junta and the Election Commission met with Thai political parties on Friday to discuss the election. At the meeting, the junta presented a road map to the proposed poll day on Feb. 24.
According to the plan, the junta will lift a ban on political activities this month. The ban was loosened in September, with some activities, such as recruiting new members and selecting new leaders, allowed. But political campaigns and gatherings of more than five people are still prohibited.