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Thailand elections confirmed for 2018

11 October, 2017, 00:37 | Author: Joan Malone
  • Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha reviews the honor guard during a welcome ceremony in Phnom Penh Cambodia. More than three years after seizing power in a coup Prayuth the head of Thailand'

Thailand's junta chief yesterday said the country would hold elections in November 2018, more than four years after the military seized power and imposed a blanket ban on politics. The junta has announced election dates at least two times in the past, only to push them back later, citing concerns such as changes to the constitution and security issues.

Prayuth, head of the ruling junta, said the exact date would be announced in June 2018.

By November 2018, the symbolically important cremation of King Bhumibol will have taken place, and it is likely that the new king, Maha Vajiralongkorn, will have had his coronation ceremony.

After seizing power, the generals drafted a new charter that curbed the power of elected politicians and called for a fully appointed upper house Senate, with several spots reserved for military leaders.

The Puea Thai Party, founded by former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is now living in exile in Dubai, is the main political party in Thailand and has won all legislative elections, including the last one in 2011, since 2001.

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The prime minister also said the junta was considering whether to allow political activity - which it suspended after taking office - to resume after funeral services later this month for King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died previous year.

"This announcement for the election in November next year will act to reduce that pressure, because if not, there could be chances for protests", he said.

He warned political parties against campaigning and said any breaches could result in the ban on political activities being prolonged.

Thaksin, a populist with strong support in the countryside, was ousted by the military in an earlier 2006 coup but his allies won subsequent elections.

Thaksin's governments, or those backed by him, have won every election since 2001, partly due to their overwhelming popularity with politically-powerful rural voters.

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