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Thailand: Elections in September 2016, at Earliest

By BenarNews Staff
2015-05-27
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Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha addresses a press conference at Government House in Bangkok, April 17, 2015.
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha addresses a press conference at Government House in Bangkok, April 17, 2015.
AFP

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha said Wednesday that elections would take place in September 2016, if a new draft of the constitution passed a national referendum.

Speaking to 12 visiting U.N. ambassadors at Government House in Bangkok, Prayuth said Thailand was on the road back to democracy and that the military-controlled government would not use violence in trying to solve country’s troubles.

"The Prime Minister expects the elections will be held in September (2016)," Deputy Government Spokesperson Maj. Gen. Weerachon Sukhontapatipak told reporters after the meeting.

The announcement represents another setback to prospects of democracy returning to Thailand.

Prayuth led a bloodless coup last May, and at the time said that elections would be held within 15 months.

The timetable has been delayed so that a constitution written after the coup could be put to the public in a referendum.

Earlier, the junta had said that an election probably would happen in the early to middle part of 2016, but a referendum on a new constitution did not factor into that timetable, Agence France-Presse reported Wednesday.

A year after the coup

Thailand just marked the first anniversary of the May 22, 2014 coup that toppled the civilian-led government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

The coup was led by Gen. Prayuth Chan-o-cha, who was then the Thai army’s commander-in-chief.

The coup took place amid the turmoil of months-long protests in the streets against Yingluck’s government. In 2006, her brother, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, also was overthrown by the military.

Soon after Yingluck’s removal from power, the National Council of Peace and Order (NCPO) – as the junta was then known – announced a three-staged road-map to restoring the country’s system of government to a full-fledged democracy that would consist of political reconciliation and reforms, followed by general elections.

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