A SHORTLIST of senatorial candidates will be made available for selection by the ruling junta about 15 days before the next general election, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said yesterday.
The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) will first appoint 50 of 250 senators, according to Wissanu. This group will come from a list of 200 senatorial candidates who are elected by fellow applicants from 10 occupational groups.
The next general election has been tentatively scheduled for February 24.
Under the current Constitution, effective since April last year, the NCPO is empowered to appoint all 250 senators who will be in office for five years.
Out of 250, six will be ex-officio members, 50 selected from 200 elected applicants and 194 chosen from a list of “people suitable to become senators” submitted by a selection committee. The six ex-officio senators are the commanders-in-chief of the three Armed Forces, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, the national police chief and the Defence Ministry permanent secretary.
The Election Commission (EC) is accepting applications from individuals and nominations by eligible organisations from all over the country. Applications will be accepted until December 16.
The EC offered to make the list of 200 elected senatorial candidates ready by February although the agency could submit the list as late as February 9, which is 15 days before the election, Wissanu said yesterday. He expected the selection committee to be appointed by the NCPO next January and to submit their list of 400 senatorial candidates by February 9.
Wissanu said the selection committee was likely to wait until the first 50 senators were appointed before selecting the 400 candidates. The panel would nominate people from occupations that were not among the first 50, he explained. “The NCPO has almost a month to choose 194 [from the 400]. The law says the appointment of senators will be announced within three days of the announcement of the general election,” said Wissanu, who is in charge of the government’s legal affairs.