THE PHEU THAI PARTY yesterday called on the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to clarify plans for the staging of the next general election – a milestone in the promised “road map” to democracy – and questioned whether the junta was testing the water in an attempt to cling to power.
Anusorn Iamsa-ard, acting deputy spokesman of Pheu Thai, alleged that the military was working systemically to gauge public sentiment on the junta’s justification of being in power.
“They started with the NLA’s [National Legislative Assembly] move, then followed [that] with the astrologer’s prophecy that the road map will be extended. All this despite the fact that the political parties have remained calm and not caused any trouble,” he said. “The purpose of this movement is nothing but for the junta to stay on in power.”
During the New Year holiday, the NLA revealed that the election could be expected to be postponed to mid-2018, despite an earlier assurance that it would be held late this year. The possible delay was blamed on the result of unfinished law deliberations.
Anusorn said that as the country’s leader, Prayut should keep his word and deliver an election this year.
He warned that people, both inside and outside the country, would certainly press the claim for an election this year.
Key Pheu Thai member Phumtham Wechayachai wrote on his Facebook page that though the constitution required that an election take place within 150 days of related organic laws being enacted, the prospect was still full of uncertainty given the behaviour of the powers-that-be.
However, he warned the current regime to be beware of pressing situations facing the country such as the ailing economy. It would be difficult for the regime to cling to power as these pressing issues would accelerate the election and the resumption of democracy, he said.
Meanwhile, the political group widely known as the 40 Senators expressed confidence that a delay in holding the election would not pose a problem as the people welcomed the NCPO more than politicians.
Prasan Marukrapitak, a leading member of the group, believes that the election will be put off to mid-2018 because of legislative matters. And although politicians might call for an election, Prasan said, he did not think they had enough power to change anything.