All political parties will have to stand on equal ground in terms of undertaking political campaigns ahead of the general election currently promised for early next year, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Tuesday.
“They will have to consider regulations by the National Council for Peace and Order,” Prayut said at his weekly press briefing. “The NCPO already watches out, just in case. We won’t benefit anyone in particular.”
He was referring to tentative moves by the Action Coalition for Thailand Party, whose prominent co-founder Suthep Thaugsuban plans to make provincial tours to promote the party.
“Any parties’ trips have to be permitted beforehand. We’ll have to see how and where they go to speak. If they only speak in private places, that’s fine,” the PM added.
The NCPO froze all party activity, as well barring any political activities consisting of five or more people, soon after the May 2014 coup, which means the ban has now been in place for more than four years.
The junta has always insisted on the need to maintain order as the reason to legitimise prolonging the ban on political party activity, despite existing enforcement of the political party law.
Prayut said on Tuesday that more relaxations should be seen once the MP election law is also in place.
The draft law, which awaits royal endorsement, is far from being in effect as the junta-appointed legislators agreed to delay its effectiveness for another 90 days after its eventual publication in the Royal Gazette.
According to the Constitution, the election must be organised within five months of all four laws essential to the holding of a general election being in effect.
This makes Prayut’s earlier promise of a national poll in February seem unlikely to be fulfilled, as the MP election bill should have been published no later than June in order to keep up with the timeline.