Prayut drops huge hint there will be no early election


Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha dropped a big hint on Wednesday that the general election will be held in May this year.

Whether deliberate or not, Prayut’s reference to a “May election” as he answered reporters’ questions effectively silenced speculation he would dissolve Parliament to call an early election.

The Election Commission has set a tentative date of May 7 for the national poll, based on the Constitution’s rule that an election must be held within 45 days of the end of the House of Representatives’ four-year term. The current House term ends on March 23.

Answering media questions on Wednesday, Prayut said he did not know how long he would be interim premier until a new government is formed “after the May election”.

Prayut was speaking after chairing this year’s first meeting of the National Strategy and Reform Committee. Also in attendance were Senate president Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, House Speaker Chuan Leekpai, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Kreu-Ngam and Interior Minister General Anupong Paochinda.

Prayut told the press after the meeting that the next government could still make adjustments to the National Strategy and Reform plan but cannot cancel it completely as it is mandated by the Constitution. He added this practice has been adopted by many countries.

Prayut said he, Chuan and Wissanu had also discussed the repeated collapse of Parliament meetings due to missing members, plus approaches to speed up the consideration of draft bills that remain pending.

Asked about the Subdistrict Administrative Organization (SAO)’s request to adjust the remuneration for SAO members, Prayut said the Interior Ministry has accepted the request and is considering if the adjustment is possible under the current budget.