Thailand signals polls may again be delayed

BANGKOK • Thailand will hold a general election by May 5 next year, a deputy prime minister said yesterday, signalling the possibility of another delay of a vote that had tentatively been set for February.

The military has been running Thailand since a May 2014 coup. It has promised to hold a general election, but has repeatedly pushed back the date, most recently suggesting polls would be held by February next year.

But Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, citing a time frame determined by constitutional stipulations and legislative steps, told reporters various dates were possible from Feb 24, with the latest being May 5.

Mr Wissanu also said the ruling junta would ease a ban on political activity by parties between September and December, allowing them to undertake administrative tasks in preparation for the election.

But bans on public gatherings of more than five people and political campaigning would remain in place during that period, Mr Wissanu said.

Representatives of 73 political parties attended a meeting with military government officials yesterday and some said they were happy with the partial lifting of the ban on political activity.

But Mr Watana Muangsook, a member of the Pheu Thai party whose government was ousted in 2014, said the junta should lift the ban completely. The party did not send representatives to the meeting.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 26, 2018, with the headline 'Thailand signals polls may again be delayed'. Print Edition | Subscribe