NCPO to hold poll talks with party leaders soon

People will have a chance to elect MPs on Feb 24 next year as Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said on Thursday the poll date has not been changed so far. (Photo by Thiti Wannamontha)

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) will hold talks with party leaders on the general election after they meet the poll-organising agency later this month, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said on Thursday.

The deputy prime minister also reaffirmed Feb 24 as the election date.

His views followed the royal endorsement of two organic laws on the selection of senators and the election of MPs published in the Royal Gazette on Wednesday.

His Majesty the King's approval of the two bills paves the way for an election to be held within 240 days, or no later than early May. The clearer timeline boosted investors' confidence, with the Stock Exchange of Thailand index surging 2.5% to 1,721.47 in active trade at 4.21pm on Thursday.

The next step is for the regime to ease a ban on political activities so that parties can recruit party members and prepare for constitutionally required primary votes. However, campaigning or policy declarations are still banned. 

Mr Wissanu said the NCPO had already approved the order but it has yet to be announced, he added.

The deputy prime minister said the Election Commission will call a meeting with political party leaders on Sept 28 to prepare for the poll and answer their questions.

A meeting between political parties and the NCPO, including Prime Miniter and NCPO chairman Prayut Chan-o-cha, on the election will follow, he added without revealing the date.

Mr Wissanu said the poll date, tentatively set at Feb 24 earlier, remained unchanged.

Gen Prayut has said earlier that the election date could be pushed further.

The organic law on the selection of senators took immediate effect after it was in the Royal Gazette but the MPs law needs another 90 days from Thursday before coming into effect. The election has to be organised with a 150-day period after the MP law takes effect, or by May 11.


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