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Election coming, says Prawit, hinting at possibility of lifting political ban

Jan 26. 2018
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By The Nation

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An election would definitely be held, said Deputy PM General Prawit Wongsuwan. And he held out the possibility of the junta lifting the ban on political activities if the situation is calm and procedures are followed.

Prawit was speaking after an amendment to the MP election bill was passed Thursday night by the National Legislative Assembly. The amendment, to delay implementation of the bill for 90 days beyond its proclamation, is expected to delay the vote to as late as February rather than the previously announced November deadline.

“There is no problem,” said Prawit. “It’s good [that they have passed the bill] because people keep asking when the election will be held.”

However, he declined to comment on a remark that the passage of the bill would result in the roadmap being delayed, saying the NLA had decided on the matter and so no further questions were needed.

Prawit also said there was no need to explain the move to the international community, which has repeatedly shared its concern over Thailand being governed by a military junta since 2014.

The international community wished to see the election held, and it would be, said Prawit. It has just been delayed for three months, he said. It is clear that no further delay would take place, and the current delay still follows what was permitted under the charter.

The deputy PM said he could see no reason to further impact the election timing.

If the situation is calm and procedures are followed, the junta would consider lifting the political ban, he added.

Prawit also rejected the notion that the junta exerted pressure on the NLA to delay the election timing. The bill originated with and was passed by the NLA, which considered the amendment into the night, he said.

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