Thailand to hold elections on March 24
BANGKOK: Thailand will hold a general election to restore civilian rule on March 24, the election commission said yesterday, announcing a new date for the much postponed vote, the first since a 2014 military coup.
The commission said last month that the elections will be held on Feb 24, but the military government expressed concern that election-related events would clash with early preparations for the coronation of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, scheduled for May 4 to 6.
"The Election Commission agreed to set the election date for March 24," chairman Ittiporn Boonprakong told reporters.
He added that the new date "is appropriate based on different factors, including early ballots and candidate registration".
Political parties will submit lists of parliamentary candidates and up to three candidates for prime minister to the commission between Feb 4 and 8, he said.
The junta has pushed back the election several times after overthrowing the democratically elected government of former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra in 2014, citing the need for peace and order after months of street protests.
In a statement, the Office of the Prime Minister said it would be inappropriate for election events to "unnecessarily coincide or overlap with the scheduling of the Coronation Ceremony or other annual Royal Ceremonies".
Under the law, the Election Commission has to endorse winning members of parliament within 60 days of a vote, and parliament must convene within 15 days of the results and the King will preside over the opening of parliament. - REUTERS