Hundreds gathered in the street of Bangkok in downtown to protest the possibility of a delay in the upcoming general election in Thailand after Deputy Prime Minister Wissana Krea-ngam suggested on
Hundreds gathered in the street of Bangkok in downtown to protest the possibility of a delay in the upcoming general election in Thailand after Deputy Prime Minister Wissana Krea-ngam suggested on Friday that post-election events might clash with King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s coronation rituals from 4th May to 6th May 2019. The Junta has promised and postponed the election several times since it came to power in 2014, with the latest date set for 24th February 2019 but after DPM’s suggestion of a postponement again, this was the final straw for the Thai people.As a result, this has prompted a public backlash and a first public protest since 2014 when the Junta lifted a ban on political activities and a gathering of more than 5 people 5 years ago. “We want the government to hold an election as soon as possible, so that democracy can move forward in our country,” said Anon Nampa, a human rights lawyer and anti-junta activist who organised the protest at the Victory Monument area in central Bangkok. The diverse and lively crowd that attended the rally served to illustrate the ongoing frustration within the kingdom over the election delays. Dates for the long-promised vote have been set, then delayed, five times till date.
Protestors carried signs which read “We Want Election” and “Election only on Feb 24, 2019”, chanting “No delay!” in unison
Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam has come forward to announce that the Thai general election will take place no later than March and the Royal Decree will be issued within the month.
Typically, the Thai general elections are expected in Thailand between 24 February and 9 May 2019 and under the 2017 constitution, elections must be held within 150 days after the relevant electoral law came into effect on 10 December 2018. Earlier, the Bangkok Post had predicted that the likelihood of elections being held in November 2019, however the date aforementioned was remote. There has been a growing dissent among the Thai people as the election has been postponed 5 times.
5 years ago, back in 2014, the Junta (military) government promised to hold an election in October 2015, but later postponed them. This happened after he spoke to Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan. On the same year, he said the election will be held after a permanent constitution is in place.
On 22nd September 2016, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha addressed during the 71st session of the United Nation’s General Assembly in New York that elections would be held by late 2017 but it was postponed again.
On 2nd October 2017, when Prime Minister Prayut met up with Donald Trump at the White House, he said that an election will be held in early 2018 but later backtracked on his comment saying it will be held late 2018.
On 10th October 2018, Prime Minister Prayut said that the election will be held by November that year.
Here’s a timeline of his broken promises.
“Let me just say that the election date will be announced this month and the election will be within March,” he said. “The Election Commission (EC) will determine the exact date.”
DPM Wissanu said that the Election committee will reconvene again on January 26 and he believed that the election date could be announced before that. According to the law, the EC must announce the voting day within five days of the Royal Decree on the election being published in the Royal Gazette. However, DPM Wissanu said the government was not in a position to say when the decree would be out. It had yet to be endorsed by the King, he said. “I don’t know. I don’t dare to say that,” Mr Wissanu said. “But the media – you can draw your conclusions from what I told you.”
DPM Wissanu later assured that the election date will be held no later than March and he also announced that 4th May from next year onwards will be a public holiday known as Coronation Day or “Wan Chatramongkol”. The official coronation of His Majesty the King will take place on 4th May this year. More details about the ceremony and celebration will be discussed again on 26th January when Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, the King’s sister heads the meeting at Government House. The ceremony would involve three major parts – the preparations from April, ceremony from 4th May to 6th May and the post-ceremony activities.
Thailand has a volatile history of elections followed by unrest and coups. While Tuesday’s protest and another held on Sunday appeared small compared to the many thousands who took the streets before the coup, concerns are growing about rising political risk in South-east Asia’s second-largest economy.
Pro-election activists raising their three fingers as The Hunger Games salute.
Let’s all hope that the election will be finally held on 24th February 2019.