As protesters marched to Government House amid growing demands for an election this year, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday insisted that the poll would be no sooner than early 2019.
“They can demand all they want but the law is the law,” Prayut said during a press briefing. “There will be an election early next year, no sooner than that. We will have to progress according to the readiness of related laws.”
Prayut was referring to four organic laws related to the election. According to the 2017 Constitution, the election must be held within 150 days of all the four laws coming into effect.
The junta leader declared last year that the election would be held by this November, but that date was changed again when junta-appointed legislators agreed to delay the enactment of the MP election law by 90 days.
That meant a further delay to the poll date of three months from this November, placing it at next February.
The move stirred dissatisfaction among pro-democracy activists, who are sceptical of reasons given for the delay and have been calling for an election since January.
Today, as the junta government reaches its 4th anniversary, the group marched towards Government House to demand a poll be held before the year is out.
The marchers are defying a junta ban on political gatherings of five or more people.
“They cannot march, whether they support or oppose us. It breaks the law. They will just cause conflict and upset the economy,” Prayut said. “They can have different opinions but must not break the law.”