PRIME MINISTER Prayut Chan-o-cha has said that if a “lack of order”, such as the anti-military protest on Saturday, continued, there was no guarantee that the national election would be held peacefully, government Spokesman Lt-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said yesterday.
“Despite the fact that the works implemented by the government and the junta have progressed more than before 2014 [when the junta took power], some groups have tried to create chaos and escalate their strategies if their demands are not met,” Sansern quoted the premier as saying.
On Saturday, activists gathered in front of Army headquarters in Bangkok, calling for the military to cease supporting the military-led National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and its role in politics as well as to allow an election this year.
The protesters also called on the military to return to the barracks and its job of protecting the country, not administering it.
Activists demanded that the military stop serving the coup-makers who “were taking away the rights and freedom of the people”.
If those demands were not met, the Army would be targeted along with the NCPO in future protests, activists warned.
“The prime minister believes that most of the public understands that the country is moving forward to have a national election according to the road map. The procedures and the election date have to be set according to the law,” Sansern said.
However, protesters on Saturday demanded that the election be held in November this year, not in February next year as Prayut has most recently promised.
“If disorder like this continues, what is the guarantee that the national poll will be held in a peaceful atmosphere?” Prayut was quoted as asking.
Sansern also said Prayut had expressed concerns that the public was starting to worry that the former situation of chaos could return, so he had called on everyone to consider what should be done and what would not help the country move forward.
Meanwhile, Maj-General Piyapong Klinpan, an NCPO spokesperson, said the election date would be decided according to the law and road map to elections.
He added that the military could not be separated from the NCPO, because the two bodies were indivisible. The military and the people were “also one”, he added.