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Big parties skip Prayut meeting

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was openly annoyed when the two top political parties, Democrats and Pheu Thai, said they will boycott Friday's meeting at the Army Club.

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The two major parties -- the Democrats and Pheu Thai -- will not attend the pre-election dialogue with the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) on Friday, a move which has annoyed Prime Minister and regime leader Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Reacting to news reports that certain parties were opting out of the meeting at the Army Club, Gen Prayut said their absence signifies that they do not accept the rules.

He also likened the scenario to a boxing match in which the boxers refused to hear the regulations from a referee, saying the match would be cancelled.

"If parties don't show up, it means they reject the rules. When the boxers step into the ring, they are summoned by a referee to hear the rules. If they don't come, the match is off," he said.

Gen Prayut, in his capacity as the NCPO chief, will chair a meeting with the so-called five rivers to discuss the lifting of the political ban ahead of the general election tentatively scheduled in February of next year.

The NCPO at present has only relaxed the ban, allowing parties to hold meetings to select party executives, recruit members, give opinions on the demarcation of constituencies, and conduct primary votes to choose poll candidates.

However, the regime still maintains the ban on public gatherings of more than five people and political campaigning.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said "The NCPO has things to do whether or not this meeting takes place. But I can assure you there'll be some big news."

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