PM Prayut confirms full election campaign to be allowed in mid-December
In the strongest sign yet that he is committed to pushing ahead with a general election early next year, Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha said today that election campaigning by political parties will be permitted starting in the middle of December.
He said all remaining political restrictions, including full-fledged election campaigning, will be lifted after the last two organic laws on MP election and Senate selection officially take effect on December 16.
Gen Prayut was responding to questions over growing calls by political parties for the military junta to allow political parties to do on-line election campaign. The junta last week partially eased political restrictions imposed since the power seizure in 2014 but still stops short of allowing election campaigning in all forms.
The prime minister said once the two laws become effective, all political activities will be allowed and urged all sides to cooperate with the government in maintaining peace and order.
He was speaking while visiting the northern province of Phetchabun for a mobile cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said Gen Prayut had asked all government agencies concerned, particularly the Interior Ministry, to step up a campaign to educate the public on the importance of next year’s general election.
The spokesman quoted Gen Prayut as saying that he had received a report about a movement propagating a “strange” campaign for voters to intentionally spoil the ballots or vote “no” in the election.
In another development, the Election Commission’s (EC) regulations on the redrawing of constituency map for the next general election were published in the Royal Gazette on Tuesday.
EC secretary-general Jarungvith Phumma said the constituency map redrawing was expected to be completed in 60 days.
Fourth Army Region commander Piyawat Narkawanich, meanwhile, raised concern over a possible rise in election-related violence in the South, noting certain activities of some groups of canvassers.