PM to discuss lifting of political restrictions and poll-related issues with parties on Friday

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Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will chair a meeting this Friday with representatives of the so-called “Five Rivers”, the Election Commission and political parties at the Army Club to discuss issues related to the February 24 election.

High on the agenda is expected to be the lifting of political  restrictions to allow parties to launch election campaigns.

Spokeswoman of the National Council for Peace and Order Colonel Sirichan Nga-thong said Monday that altogether about 280 participants will attend the meeting.

However, not all the parties will attend the meeting.  Several parties have voiced their opposition to Gen  Prayut returning as prime minister and made clear they are not going to be present at the meeting. They include the former ruling party, Pheu Thai, its sister party Thai Raksachart, and Future Forward.

The Democrat party which is against Gen Prayut’s clinging to power after the election,however, has agreed to attend.

The “Five Rivers” are made up of the NCPO, the cabinet, the National Legislative Assembly, the Constitution Drafting Committee and the National Reform Steering Council.

Earlier, the junta eased some political restrictions by allowing parties to recruit new memberships, to meet with the people and to present their policies, but not to start electioneering.

It was reported that the junta would allow only 60 days for electioneering.

During his inspection trip to Chaiyaphum province on Monday, the prime minister told the people who showed up to welcome him to elect the right candidates into the parliament, not the ones “who just talk and do nothing.”

Describing himself an Isan son because his mother was a native of Chaiyaphum, the prime minister said he would like the people to listen to him or the government spokesman and to read get information from the government’s websites.

He said he came to see them not as their boss or master, but to work for the people.

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