Election may clash with coronation preparations, says Thai junta

A portrait of Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn and his mother, Queen Sirikit, in Bangkok.
A portrait of Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn and his mother, Queen Sirikit, in Bangkok. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Thailand's government has said a general election planned for Feb 24 may clash with preparations for the coronation of the King, and that it will be up to the Election Commission to decide whether the timing of the polls is appropriate.

The vote would start a chain of events required under the Constitution that may conflict with the coronation of King Vajiralongkorn in May, said Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam.

He met members of the Election Commission yesterday to discuss the issue. In November, Mr Wissanu said that if the election is held in February, the King could open the parliamentary session in early May.

A royal decree calling for an election was expected to be published this week, but the government has signalled that it may not happen.

Thailand's Constitution, written by the military government that claimed power after a coup in 2014, dictates that the election must be held by May 9.

On New Year's Day, the Bureau of the Royal Household said the coronation ceremony of King Vajiralongkorn will be held on May 4 to 6.

He was proclaimed king in December 2016 after the death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, though he has not been officially crowned. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2019, with the headline 'Election may clash with coronation preparations, says Thai junta'. Print Edition | Subscribe