Prayut seeks CDC input on poll date

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha instructs two farmers (left) on the correct use of a sickle to harvest rice, as the director of an agricultural learning centre in Bangkok's eastern Nong Chok district peers over his shoulder during a photo op on Wednesday. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has urged relevant authorities to seek opinions from the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) when determining the poll date, according to the premier's close aide.

Buddhipongse Punnakanta, the PM's deputy secretary-general for political affairs, said Gen Prayut expects all those responsible for organising the general election, previously scheduled for Feb 24, to ensure it proceeds smoothly before, during and after the ballots are cast.

The prime minister wants the agencies concerned to take into consideration related issues including the coronation of His Majesty the King and the GAT/PAT and TCAS tests for students eyeing university placements when they finalise the date, Mr Buddhipongse said.

Gen Prayut has called on those responsible for overseeing the elections to consult with the CDC if they have any questions about the charter or election-related laws, he added.

The CDC drafted these laws and is expected to explain its rationale, he noted.

Mr Buddhipongse was referring to the ongoing debate about when the deadline for holding the poll is, as the law states it must take place within 150 days of the organic law governing the election of MPs taking effect on Dec 11 of last year.

Questions were raised as to whether the 150-day deadline includes endorsement of the result. The Election Commission (EC) must endorse the outcome within 60 days of the election.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam has suggested that, for the time being at least, the Education Ministry stick to its plan of holding the GAT/PAT tests from Feb 16-19 until the new poll date is set.

He said the committee responsible for organising the coronation would meet today, with the results to be conveyed to the EC for use in setting an appropriate poll date.

The coronation ceremonies for His Majesty the King will take place on May 4-6. However, other ceremonies will take place throughout April. They will be taken into consideration when the EC sets the poll date, he said.

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