Thai elections may take place in July

Bangkok, April 22: Fresh elections in Thailand will be held in July or latest by September, the Election Commission said Tuesday.

It remains to be seen how soon the new nationwide polls will take place in Thailand following the ruling by the Constitutional Court last month that the Feb 2 elections were “null and void,” Xinhua reported.

The caretaker government under the leadership of acting premier Yingluck Shinawatra will consult with the Election Commission about the fresh elections for which a royal decree is yet to be issued.

Election Commission Secretary General Puchong Nutravong said that the polling agency has offered three tentative choices for election dates — July 20, Aug 17, Sep 14 — to the political parties.

A total of 53 political parties, including the ruling Pheu Thai Party, attended a meeting Tuesday with the Election Commission but failed to reach consensus on the election date.

The opposition Democrat Party did not join the meeting between the political parties and the polling agency.

It still remains unclear if Yingluck would contest the elections or not following recent comments made by her brother, former Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra, who said that all members of his family might leave politics for good.

“I have not been attached to any position in government and I will not set preconditions for anything. Let the people decide for themselves,” Yingluck said responding to her brother’s comment.

Meanwhile, the polling agency and the caretaker government are likely to hold talks on the issue next week with the latter saying that it would prefer July 20 as the date for the next elections, according to Pheu Thai party spokesman Prompong Nopparit.

Election Commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn earlier said that the elections might be held either July 20 or July 27 so that winning electoral candidates could be officially ratified by the polling agency in August, parliament can be reconvened in September and a post-election government can be set up in October.

Former election commissioner Sodsri Satayatham advised the caretaker government to promptly issue the royal decree for the new elections because Yingluck might possibly be no longer authorised to do so if she was judged by the Constitutional Court as guilty of having transferred a senior government official a few years ago and consequently might be deprived of the legal status as acting premier.

“Previous elections were normally held in a matter of 45 to 60 days after parliament had been dissolved and the caretaker government needed no consultation with the Election Commission about the election dates,” said the former commissioner.