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Election date confirmed for February 24 next year

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PHOTO: Deputy PM Wissanu Kreangam arrives at the Army Club in Bangkok – The Nation

Make it a date. February 24 is now the official date of the next Thai general election. The poll date has now been confirmed after years of delays, mis-starts and excuses.

The NCPO has now announced that the ban on political activities will be lifted next Tuesday. This allows political parties to prepare for the February 24 election after years of bans on political gatherings and activities. Although parties will now be allowed to start having meetings and nominate MPs, official campaigning is still being held off until January 2, 2019 when a Royal Decree will be made calling on the poll date.

Political parties, especially the many new ones, will then have less than two months to convince voters to vote for their constituents when they cast their ballot.

A meeting was held yesterday at the Army Club in Bangkok. All political parties were invited to attend by many boycotted the meeting, shunning the invitation of the NCPO to participate, notably the Pheu Thai, Democrat and rising Future Forward parties.

The meeting announced the revoking of nine orders which had, up until next Tuesday, prevented political activities since the May 2014 coup when the military took control and set up the NCPO to control the country in the absence of a democratically elected government.

Although the poll date was confirmed at yesterday’s meeting by Deputy PM Wissanu Kreangam, the Election Commission will formally announce the poll date and new political constituencies on January 4 next year.

Wissanu said that the NCPO will stand down when the new cabinet is sworn in following the election.

Unable to resist taking a swipe at the parties who boycotted yesterday’s chat-fest at the Army Club, the Thai PM said he appreciated the cooperation of the parties that attended.

“For some parties that failed to show up, I don’t know their real reasons, or whether they want to cooperate with others,” Gen Prayut said.

COUNTDOWN TO GENERAL ELECTION

December 20: Election Commission announces regulations on MP elections;

December 28: Government stops submitting bills for deliberation by the National Legislative Assembly.

2019

January 2: Royal decree to allow election campaigning

January 4: EC to set election date January 14-18: Registration of MP candidates and prime ministerial candidates

January 25: Announcement of names of constituency and party-list candidates

February 4-16: Advance voting for Thais living abroad

February 17: Advance voting for citizens living outside home provinces

February 24: General election

April 25: Last day for EC to announce election results

May 9: Last day for new Parliament to convene first meeting.

SOURCE: Deputy PM Wissanu Kreangam

 

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