Thailand will hold general elections as planned, the country’s prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha announced at a press conference. The announcement was made in light of Sunday’s referendum on the draft charter of a new Constitution for the Kingdom, while the prime minister was on his way to attend a meeting of the cabinet and the National Council for Peace and Order at the Government House.
Asked if there were chances for the elections to be postponed until 2018, the prime minister said the poll process would happen the next year as planned, probably in December.
“Let’s count today as Day 1 on the roadmap schedule. If you follow the roadmap it would put us at November 2017 when the whole process is complete. So why would the elections be held in 2018? (…) Please have confidence in the roadmap. I’ve never said otherwise,” added Prayut Chan-o-cha, quoted by business-standard.com.
According to Meechai Ruchupan, a member of the National Committee for Peace and Order and the chief of the Constitution Drafting Committee, the draft charter of the new Constitution should be ready for submission for royal approval in either October or November. Work on the 10 organic laws would start with the those governing elections, senators, political parties and the Election Commission.
According to Section 260 of the draft constitution, the election of MPs and the appointment of senators shall be completed within 150 days after all 10 organic laws take effect.
When these laws will become effective, the political spectrum in the Kingdom will change significantly. The number of seats in the 500-member lower house chosen by proportional representation will increase, while those of MPs chosen by district elections will decrease. The changes will also limit the number of proportional seats that can be awarded to a single party.
The constitutional referendum on Sunday was aprroved by 61.35% of the voter turn-out, while the “Against” camp rounded up 38.65% of the votes. Turnout for the vote was at 59%, with 29,740,677 voters showing up at the polls.