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.
Articles about voting issues in the Kingdom of Thailand.
The battle to win over millions of first-time and undecided Thai voters is now increasingly being fought online as the military-run government bans campaigning ahead of a general election expected next year. New and established parties and even junta leader Prayut Chan-o-cha are vying for attention on platforms ranging from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to the Line messaging service. The contest is set to intensify as the military government that seized power in 2014 prepares to finally hold an election on Feb 24. While the junta in September eased its ban on political activity, allowing parties to raise money and elect leaders, electoral campaigning and political gatherings of more than five people continued to be prohibited.
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s fellow junta leaders have dropped a bombshell that might signal another delay in general elections set for Feb. 24, 2019, hot on the heels of Prayuth’s promises that polls would be held before world leaders at the ASEAN Summit in Singapore. That follows a full four years of broken promises. The possibility of delay had been hinted at on Nov. 12 by Deputy Premier Wissanu Krea-ngam who suggested that the election might be pushed back to May 5. He argued that the delay was still within the timeframe determined by the 2017 Constitution and in line with legislative procedures. The delay took a more definitive note when the junta issued a Nov. 16 directive giving the election commission the authority to review and alter the duly completed demarcation of election constituencies as well as to extend the election timeframe.
A Democrat Party committee supervising the election of a new party leader will look into a complaint that an information technology team of former Democrat MP Warong Dechgitvigrom, one of three contenders for the party leadership, had copied a source code from an electronic voting system — an act which could lead to possible fraud. Jermmas Juenglertsiri, secretary-general of the committee, said the panel will investigate the matter. She said copying a source code from the system is a breach of an agreement reached between the IT representatives of the three contenders for the party leadership. Apart from Mr Warong, the other two contenders are incumbent party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, and former party deputy leader Alongkorn Ponlaboot.
Thailand: Deputy Prime Minister says Thailand will stick to 2019 date for general election | Reuters
There will be no delays to a general election planned in Thailand for 2019, the deputy prime minister said on Wednesday, amid the concerns of government critics and the opposition that it could be pushed back. The military government, which came to power after a 2014 coup, has promised to hold an election between February and May next year, following repeated delays on the grounds of constitutional and legislative steps needed ahead of a vote.
Thailand’s military government enacted two new laws that set in motion a countdown leading to elections by May 2019 at the latest – five years after a coup d’etat. The laws, which received royal endorsement on Wednesday with their publication in the Royal Gazette, cover the selection of members of parliament and senators. The act covering lower-house legislators becomes effective in 90 days and mandates that elections be held within 150 days after that, effectively setting a legal deadline in May next year. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who heads the regime that seized power in the 2014 coup, said last month a general election was likely to be held on February 24 but left open the possibility of a later date.
September will sizzle with political intrigue in Thailand. The prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, has announced that his military government will shortly begin discussions with political parties about restoring democracy. Every year since his junta came to power in a coup in 2014, it has promised—and failed—to hold an election. This time it may actually keep its word. The tentative date is February 24th. Mr Prayuth has also said that he will declare in the coming month whether he intends to remain in politics, and if so which party he will join. This is in spite of the fact that he previously insisted that he would neither support any particular political tribe nor run for office himself.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha seems to have dropped another hint that the country’s long-awaited election will be delayed yet again. Despite previously promising that one will be held in February 2019, Prayut recently said that a further delay is possible. “We still confirm that the general election will be held in February 2019. Let’s talk about it later if we cannot hold such an election then, and now there isn’t any factor to make us hold the election sooner,” he told reporters after a cabinet meeting in the southern province of Chumphon.
But scepticism and frustrations are running high in the Land of Smiles following delay after delay as to a promised date for the country’s general election. Shortly after the junta’s – The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) – military coup on 22 May, 2014, it promised an election the following year. Four years later and Thailand is still under military rule. This scepticism was related in the Suan Dusit Rajabhat University’s latest poll findings published in June. The poll, carried out between 5 to 9 June and involving a sample size of 1,130 people throughout the country, revealed that the hottest political topic among Thais is whether or not an election will ever take place, and if so, when.
Thailand’s military junta has moved closer to keeping its long-held promise to hold a general election that could see power transferred back to civilian hands. Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Kreangam said on Monday that a new bill has been submitted to King Maha Vajiralongkorn for his approval. The bill lays out rules for a lower house election, will take effect 90 days after the king approves it and it is published in the Royal Gazette, the government’s public journal. An election must then follow within 150 days.
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Tuesday he needed a little more time in office to prepare the country for a general election, just days after his deputy said a vote planned for this year could be delayed. Prayuth, installed as prime minister in August 2014 after leading a coup that ousted a civilian government, has delayed the date of a general election several times. Most recently, he said an election would take place in November. But last week Thailand’s parliamentary body voted to postpone enforcement of a new election law by 90 days, dragging out the time frame. At the time, the deputy prime minister said parliament’s decision could delay the election until 2019.