• Saturday, September 20, 2014

Thai army promises elections in 2015

BBC Online
Thai Army chief General Prayut Chan-O-Cha gestures during a press conference at the Army Club in Bangkok on May 20. Photo: Getty Images
Thai Army chief General Prayut Chan-O-Cha gestures during a press conference at the Army Club in Bangkok on May 20. Photo: Getty Images

Thailand's military leader has promised a return to democracy but says elections will only take place after October 2015.

Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha said in a speech that an interim constitution would be adopted next month.

A temporary cabinet would then govern until elections next year.

The military seized power on 22 May, saying it wanted to return stability to Thailand after months of political and social unrest.

Since then, the country has been run by a military junta called the National Council for Peace and Order. It insists it is a neutral player among the country's rival political factions.

Gen Prayuth, who led the coup, said any new election would have to take place under a new constitution, which would be drafted by an appointed body.

"We want to see an election that will take place under the new constitution... that will be free and fair, so that it can become a solid foundation for a complete Thai democracy," he said in a televised address.

"Today, if we go ahead and hold a general election, it will lead to a situation that creates conflict and the country will return to the old cycle of conflict, violence, corruption by influential groups in politics, terrorism and the use of war weapons" he added.

Hundreds detained

Gen Prayuth also denied reports that the coup was planned in advance with anti-government protest leaders.

"I did not join any process or take part with any side", he said.

The denial came after reports that protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban said that he had discussed overthrowing the government with Gen Prayuth many times in recent years.

Gen Prayuth and the army took over two weeks after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was removed from her role by a controversial court ruling.

It followed months of anti-government protests in which dozens of people were killed.

 

 

Published: 9:19 pm Saturday, June 28, 2014

Last modified: 9:23 pm Saturday, June 28, 2014

TAGS: election Thai army

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