Protesters in Thailand rally anew against risk of election delay

Pro-democracy demonstrators at a rally in Bangkok on Jan 8, 2019, calling the junta government not to delay the general election.
Pro-democracy demonstrators at a rally in Bangkok on Jan 8, 2019, calling the junta government not to delay the general election.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BANGKOK (BLOOMBERG) - Demonstrators took to the streets in Bangkok for the third time in a week to criticise the looming postponement of the general election due next month in military-run Thailand.

About 200 people on Sunday (Jan 13) held placards and chanted slogans calling for an end to delays in the schedule for voting.

A group called "We Vote" said it organised the protest in the capital as well as in other cities across the country.

"The objective for today is to secure a date for the election after five postponements," Nuttaa Mahattana, one of the leaders of the group, said on her Facebook page.

Demonstrations such as these were banned until the military government in December lifted restrictions on political gatherings ahead of the expected poll.

Since then, officials have signalled the election due Feb 24 may have to be delayed to avoid a clash with preparations for the coronation of King Maha Vajiralongkorn on May 4-6.

The timeline for a vote has been repeatedly pushed back by the military government since the coup in 2014, which followed prolonged, paralysing and sometimes bloody protests.

 

The current demonstrations are much smaller but point to increasing political risk after more than four years under the junta. The military-backed charter requires an election by May 9.