See More on Facebook

News

Thai elections on February 24, maintains government

Political observers remain sceptical citing Junta’s flawed record of keeping promises.


Written by

Updated: September 14, 2018

Government leaders reiterated yesterday that the national elections will be held on February 24, now that the last two electoral organic laws were promulgated on Wednesday. The junta’s No 2 man, Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan, stressed yesterday that the date remains unchanged, though how the relaxation of the ban on political activities unfolds depends entirely on Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam, in charge of legal affairs, also said yesterday that he has not heard of anything other than that national elections will be held on February 24.

The Thai stock index, meanwhile, rose yesterday by 38.57 points or 2.30 per cent to 1,717.96. The market closed at Bt78.999 billion. Analysts attributed the surge to positive sentiment from the election development as well as possibility of a US-China trade deal. Earlier, the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) had announced that the national elections could be held any day between February 24 and May 5.

This period is restricted by the Constitution, which prescribes the national poll should take place within 150 days once all electoral organic laws go into effect. The last legislation is the MP election law, which was promulgated on Wednesday and should go into effect 90 days later, or by December 10, according to Wissanu. The road map to democracy dictated by the NCPO has never been this clear, despite the junta continuously promising over the nearly five years since the 2014 coup to return power to the people. However, with the NCPO’s history of failing to keep its promises and delaying polls, some political observers remain uncertain about this election.

According to the Constitution, the junta gets to retain its indisputable power until a new government takes office.‘Power to do anything’ Academics and politicians voiced concerns earlier that this stipulation essentially gives the junta the power to do anything, even nullifying the election and its results. Sirawith Serithiwat, a pro-democracy activist and leader of the “We Want Election” group, said yesterday that anything could happen as long as the junta still has absolute power. Also, he said, there is always a chance that sweeping powers under Article 44 can be invoked to scrap the entire plan. “The NCPO should only act as a caretaker government, let go of power and major administrative work and focus solely on transitioning the country back to democracy by realising a free and fair voting,” the activist said.

Meanwhile, political scientist Yutthaporn Issarachai believes it is unlikely that the junta will delay the election any further, considering all the unprecedented clarity on the matter. “I don’t think Article 44 will be used in respect to the national election, apart from fixing the primary voting issue,” he said. As for concerns about the election being free and fair, Yutthaporn said that was the Election Commission’s responsibility. The commission is obliged to ensure voting goes smoothly, he said, because if the election results are rejected, the country could risk returning to the same old conflicts.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Nation (Thailand)
About the Author: The Nation is a broadsheet, English-language daily newspaper founded in 1971 and published in Bangkok, Thailand.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

News

Rohingya refugees refuse repatriation

Repatriation postponed as Rohingyas feel return to Myanmar still not safe. The much-awaited launch of the Rohingya repatriation was cancelled at the last moment yesterday as the refugees refused to return to Rakhine for fear of fresh persecution. “The refugees don’t want to return now,” Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali told reporters after briefing foreign diplomats in the capital’s State Guest House Padma in the evening. He said Bangladesh sheltered the persecuted Rohingyas with an open heart when they fled Rakhine last year. “We can’t force them to go,” he said, adding that Bangladesh would now discuss with Myanmar sending a group of Rohingya leaders (majhis) to Rakhine to


By Daily Star
November 16, 2018

News

India watchful amid developments in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s political crisis has a regional power closely watching developments. The return of Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa to power in Sri Lanka amid political turmoil has triggered concern in India, with analysts warning it could lead to a deterioration of ties with the island nation to its south-east and increase the influence of China, already making serious inroads into South Asia. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Oct 26 and named his one-time rival as his replacement. The move plunged the country into political turmoil and a constitution


By The Straits Times
November 14, 2018

News

Suu Kyi stripped of Amnesty honour

The Amnesty International has stripped Aung San Suu Kyi of its highest honour, the latest of several honours taken away from her since last year’s brutal military crackdown on the Rohingyas. This is the eighth honour that the former Nobel peace prizewinner has been stripped of over the past year, with Amnesty following the example of Canada, US Holocaust Museum, UK’s Edinburgh, Oxford, Glasgow and Newcastle and Canada’s Carleton Universities which also revoked Suu Kyi’s honorary degrees and awards. The long-celebrated Nobel Laureate was given Amnesty’s most prestigious honour, the Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2009 marking the 20th anniversary of her arrest and 20 years since it declared her a prisoner of conscience. The AI yesterday announced withdrawal of its highest honour fr


By Daily Star
November 13, 2018

News

US calls on China to remove missiles from Spratly Islands

For the first time, the United States called on China to remove missiles it deployed on three fortified outposts it built in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The United States called on China to withdraw its missile systems from disputed features in the Spratly Islands, and reaffirmed that all countries should avoid addressing disputes through coercion or intimidation,” the Department of State released in a statement on Saturday (Philippine time) after the high-level US-China diplomatic and security dialogue in Washington. Both US and China committed to supporting peace and stability in the South China Sea, the peaceful resolution of disputes, and freedom of navigation and overflight and other lawful uses of the sea in accordance with international law during the dialogue, it added.


By Philippine Daily Inquirer
November 12, 2018

News

Xi, Kissinger expound ties’ importance

President Xi Jinping met with former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Thursday. President Xi Jinping called for coordinated efforts with the United States to promote healthy development of Sino-US ties. Xi made the remark on Thursday while meeting with former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The president’s comment comes ahead of his planned meeting with US President Donald Trump at the upcoming G20 Summit in Argentina. China and the US should exercise proper judgment toward each other’s strategic intentions, Xi said, adding that there are rising negative voices in the US toward China of late, which should be taken note of. China would like to properly improve bilateral ties through friendly coordination on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, along with the spirit of mutual


By China Daily
November 9, 2018

News

Woman accused of blasphemy freed in Pakistan

Asia Bibi was initially found guilty of blasphemy and sentenced to death. After her release from Multan’s women prison in the light of the Oct 31 Supreme Court verdict overturning her conviction and death sentence, Asia Bibi was brought to Islamabad on board a special aircraft on Wednesday night, reliable sources told Dawn Newspaper. The aircraft carrying Aasia Bibi, whose acquittal of blasphemy charge sparked countrywide protests by religious parties and groups, landed at the old Benazir Bhutto International Airport of Islamabad adjacent to Nur Khan Air Base. Soon after her landing, she was taken to an undisclosed place in Islamabad amid tight security. The authorities were keeping her movement and whereabouts secret for security reasons. Authorities concerned were also tight-lipped about her future plan and it was unclear if she would be kept in Islamabad or would be allowed to fly out of the


By Dawn
November 8, 2018