Prawit says political ban will remain in place
Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan on Wednesday reiterated that the junta would maintain its three-year-old ban on political activity.
“We haven’t discussed it and I don’t know if it will be possible to lift the ban,” Prawit said. “I still don’t see any readiness [to lift the ban].”
Prawit’s comment came after Interior Minister General Anupong Paochinda, who has been working to prepare for local elections, said he might ask Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha to consider lifting the ban.
Shortly after the 2014 coup, National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) order no. 7/2014 restricted all kinds of political gatherings of five or more people. This has prevented political parties from making official moves, including preparing themselves for elections.
The order remains active as the 2017 permanent charter allows the NCPO to continue executing its absolute power until there is a new government.
On Wednesday, Prawit stressed that the junta government would find a way to ensure that all parties could follow procedures in the new political party bill, which designates a deadline for the parties to be prepared for an election.
“We’ll follow the road map,” he said briefly, referring to the junta’s often-altered timeline towards an election.