Earliest election date is July 20

The next general election can be held on July 20 at the earliest, Election Commission (EC) member Somchai Srisuthiyakorn said on Sunday.

Mr Somchai, who is in charge of election management, said the EC will meet 70 political parties on Tuesday to discuss and exchange views on the next election. The EC will then see which date is the most appropriate for holding the polls.

He said the EC may have a meeting with the caretaker government on April 30 to discuss the election date. If both sides agree, a draft royal decree for the new polls can be forwarded for royal approval and this would take 20 days. After it is promulgated in the royal gazette, the commission will have to wait for another 60 days to hold the election and the earliest date is July 20.

"The EC will seek ways to prevent the next election from being unconstitutional like the Feb 2 poll," the commissioner said. "The EC has adjusted the regulations to allow candidates to register in every constituency, in case protesters gather to obstruct them."

The government and the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) should hold talks to settle the political conflict. The EC will not act as a mediator in talks between them, he added.

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