Connect with us


Elections ‘unlikely before 2016’

Legacy Phuket Gazette




– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Elections ‘unlikely before 2016’
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The next general election could be delayed by a year, two top ministers said yesterday.

In an interview with the BBC on Wednesday, Finance Minister Sommai Phasi said bringing back democracy any time before mid-2016 was unrealistic.

“As announced by the prime minister [General Prayut Chan-o-cha], it would take about one year. But, from my feeling, I think it may take, maybe, a year and a half,” he told the British broadcaster.

Sommai said he had just last week spoken to Prayut about the feasibility of holding elections. Gen Prayut had initially said his government hoped to hold fresh polls around October or thereabouts next year, once the drafting of the new constitution is done.

Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, who is also defence minister, echoed the same view. “If everything goes out as planned and if the constitution is ready, we think elections will be held in 2016,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sommai said no date had been set for lifting martial law as “it’s something that he [the Prime Minister] needs as a tool to deal with security”.

Gen Prawit said the government could deal with the fact that some groups were still opposed to the junta and its government, but it was necessary to suspend all political activities.

“We will do everything as democratically as possible. We [the junta] have not suppressed anyone. We just ask people to suspend political activities and wait for us to solve problems and lay down a strong foundation for the country.

“It will only take a year. That’s not too long. They can wait,” he said, referring to academics calling for the martial law to be relaxed.

In a related development, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday suggested that a public referendum be held on the new constitution in order to boost its legitimacy and sustainability. He told the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) at a meeting in Parliament that the provisional charter should be amended to require a referendum on the constitution’s final draft.

Charter legitimacy

He urged National Reform Council president Thienchai Kirananda or CDC chairman Borwornsak Uwanno to ask Gen Prayut, as chief of the National Council for Peace and Order, to allow the necessary charter change.

Abhisit also said that eligible voters should be asked if they preferred a new constitution drafted by the CDC or if they were happy with the 2007 charter. He said this would motivate the drafters into writing a better charter.

In his document submitted to the CDC yesterday, Abhisit said that with majority support from voters, the new charter would gain strong legitimacy, which would make it difficult for politicians to amend it in the future.

The Army imposed martial law two days before the May 22 coup. The law bans all political gatherings, allows the detention of dissidents for up to seven days without charge and allows ordinary citizens to be tried in a military court. Gen Prayut has been insisting that martial law is necessary.

Meanwhile, the anti-coup sentiment is still strong among some Thais, even though it has been six months since the coup. In his first visit to the Northeast, which is a stronghold of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Gen Prayut himself witnessed protests by students.

The government has set up forums to gather students’ opinions on political reform. Education Ministry permanent secretary Suthasri Wongsamarn said all students should exercise their right and attend these, adding that universities would be urged to encourage their students to participate.

She added that the ministry would not force the students, but she said those expressing political views and joining movements should also see if the location and timing of the protest are appropriate.

She also urged protesting students to think of the majority’s benefits and said they should consider the end result for society rather than focusing on the means.

— Phuket Gazette Editors


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forum
🔔 Subscribe to our daily newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Tourism46 mins ago

Alcohol ban predicted to damage Thailand’s reopening, reputation

Crime2 hours ago

Woman who cut safety rope of workers offers feeble excuse

Video2 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Dirty gloves probe, Bocelli & Lisa, ASEAN fallout | October 27

Sponsored10 hours ago

Top 5 dental clinics by Dental Corporations PLC in Thailand

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Police seize Covid-19 antiviral drugs allegedly stolen by hospital manager

Thailand3 hours ago

Student dies after receiving second Covid-19 vaccine shot

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Foreign Ministry denies blocking Poland’s donation of vaccines

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand3 hours ago

Travellers now exempt from quarantine advised to directly contact AQ hotels for refund

Crime4 hours ago

Legal proceedings expected this week for “Joe Ferrari” death in custody case

Coronavirus (Covid-19)5 hours ago

Wednesday Covid Update: 8,452 new cases; provincial totals

Bangkok5 hours ago

Police bust Bangkok pub serving alcohol, 61 arrested

Bangkok5 hours ago

Russell Crowe bids Bangkok goodbye after much-praised tweets

Thailand6 hours ago

Thai government forms panel to probe the export of used medical gloves

ASEAN6 hours ago

Myanmar no-show a focus as ASEAN summit gets underway

Drugs6 hours ago

Police arrest 3 vans in Korat with 1.82 tonnes of marijuana

Thailand6 hours ago

Sedatives and painkillers, Thai new year – 3 million USD on 2 people | Thaiger Bites | Ep. 47

Thailand1 month ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism8 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism8 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism8 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11