Ruffled by protests, govt engages public
The government will explain why the election is being delayed every time a rally is held demanding the regime stick to its roadmap, a spokesman said yesterday.
Lt Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered agencies to clarify to the public that the government is not deviating from its plan on purpose.
Gen Prayut, also head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), promised earlier the poll would take place this November but speculation is mounting it will be delayed by several months pending approval of two organic laws.
He said both the regime and activists deserve to have their voices heard.
Groups of anti-government activists rallied near the Democracy Monument in Bangkok on Saturday, and a group in Chiang Mai rallied yesterday, calling for the election to be held by November.
Some of the protest leaders are facing charges for ignoring a longstanding ban on political gatherings of over five people.
But they vowed to continue the activities to pressure the government into holding the election in a timely manner. They did not give any details or dates.
A bill on MP elections is one of two organic bills that have yet to be passed before the poll can be held. Two others have already been approved.
The National Legislative Assembly [NLA] panel that vetted the MP bill agreed last month to a proposal that it should only take effect 90 days after it appears in the Royal Gazette.
“The roadmap remains the same. It’s just that the NLA agreed with the proposal [to defer it by 90 days],” the government spokesman said.
“The premier understands it must take effect within 90 days,” he said. “There is no link between this and claims that the government or NCPO want to stay in power longer.”
A tripartite committee comprising members of the NLA, Constitution Drafting Committee and Election Commission is expected to be set up today to accelerate matters after the three agencies failed to agree on the bill.
The committee will have 15 days. If it cannot agree, the bill may be redrafted.
NLA vice-chairman Surachai Liengboonlertchai said only contested parts can be changed.